Nobody ever told me that sometimes Duke was going to suck. Nobody told me that I would study night and day for two weeks for a single exam only to get my first C. Nobody told me that after weeks of trying to find a group of friends I would still feel like an outsider. I missed the memo saying that I would feel like I didn’t deserve to be at Duke because while it seemed that everyone around me was curing cancer, feeding the hungry and playing three club sports on the side, I wasn’t involved in a single extracurricular. There are times when being a Duke student feels like punishment.
To clarify, I love this university. Coming here was one of the best decisions of my life. The reason I love Duke is because these conflicts have allowed me to obtain the education that I really came here for. My first C motivated me to understand, explore and deliberately improve upon my academic strengths and weaknesses. Failing to initially fit myself into various social groups taught me how to make and maintain friendships that actually matter. Waiting a year to get involved in extracurriculars gave me the time to identify and engage with my passions rather than going through the motions of getting involved with clubs and activities that had no meaning for me.