The second blog post in my series of “The ‘Whats,’ ‘Whos,’ and ‘Wheres’ that Make Duke So Special” addresses a wonderful personality WHO happens to warm our days be it with her smile or her fresh brewed coffee.
Trinity Café is one of the most popular spots on East Campus, where all freshmen dormitories can also be found. It is located within the Marketplace (cafeteria for freshmen) and is a convenient place to swing by for coffee, a pastry, or even some sushi at nighttime. Often, freshmen can use credit on their Duke Card to purchase café items if they do not eat dinner at Marketplace that night. As a result, many students stop by after 9pm to grab a snack or fuel up on coffee for a late night of studying. Whether stopping for a quick break at noon or a late night snack as midnight approaches, many freshmen pay a visit to Trinity at some point.
At Trinity Café, the setting is comfortable, the coffee is good, and the convenience is appreciated. In addition, though, the staff is notably friendly. In particular, Tamika is one of the baristas I have come to know. I remember running to Trinity to grab something to eat after coming from the gym one night. I was in a rush and, like on any other day, I had an endless list of things to do. However, that didn’t stop me from taking a break to talk to Tamika as she checked out the items I was buying. After pointing out a large, intricate bracelet on her wrist, I quickly learned that she loves crafting her own jewelry for herself and friends. The conversation spanned her jewelry crafting, her predilection for comics, and the snowfall that was occurring at the time. In the midst of all of that, I had not bothered to wonder how much time I spent or what was next on my to-do list. For a few brief minutes, I got to know someone who I see in passing nearly everyday. I stepped away from my own busy schedule to learn about what was going on in someone else’s life.
With all the academic pressures and prestige that surround us at Duke, we can easily forget to stop and smell the roses… or coffee! Overlooking these little things really causes us to lose perspective. In the words of famous aviator and author Anne Morrow Lindbergh, “Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.” Fortunately, such conversations are not hard to find on campus. The positivity of on-campus employees who understand students’ ongoing lists of responsibilities and plans is tremendous. Though they are not often recognized, people like Tamika work hard to “refuel” students – albeit with a cup of coffee or a flashed smile.
Being a student at Duke is a wonderful privilege. It is incredible to be surrounded by the driven group of individuals that make up the Class of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. At the same time, it is worth acknowledging that we are part of a larger community at Duke. We, including the faculty, the administration, the bus drivers, and the baristas, all proudly wear our Duke blue. Every individual on campus is an invaluable thread in the beautiful fabric we embody.
In my next addition to this blog series, I will describe yet another beautiful feature of Duke’s Campus: The Chapel. Specifically, I will venture within it and introduce you to custodian Oscar Dantzler, who adds to the beauty of campus in his own special way.