Hello Class of 2018! My name is Gabrielle Sawyer and I am a rising junior studying Public Policy and Markets and Management. I have just returned home to Washington, D.C. after spending a very eventful semester in SoCal with Duke in Los Angeles. In addition to taking courses with USC and Duke professors, I interned at Overbrook Entertainment on the Sony Pictures Studio lot. The decision to trade in Durham for Hollywood was an uncanny one given my calculated nature. Before leaving, I was a straight-laced pre-med student wary of exploring my lingering interests for film and media. Given the traditional nature of Duke, I never thought it possible to make a living in the entertainment industry. My perspective began to change as I connected with Duke alumni that work as successful producers, agents, and journalists.
Giving up pre-med has been one of the most uncomfortable and stressful decisions I have made so far at Duke. Giving up the security of a stable career track has really pushed the boundaries of myself and of my family. I sometimes worry that by not becoming a doctor, I am throwing away this extraordinary opportunity to study at such a prestigious university.
Finding that spark and that passion may not come as easy for some. I am evidence of this. It is okay to be fearful of the future. Just donât let that fear keep you from building a life full of vigor and energy. The worst possible thing you can do during your four years at Duke is to choose a career path that does not make you happy nor challenges your abilities as an intelligent and creative human being.
This is YOUR time. Live these four years up AND make wise decisions. Have fun!
On that note, I canât wait to meet you all! Enjoy the rest of your summer.