Snippets, a Toast

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Elizabeth Hoyler, '16
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Well there it is. I’m done. It’s been a semester with many late nights, some tears and some laughs—and now that my work is done, I’m hoping not to let all the things I’ve learned be defined by my GPA. Because really, when I think about all the experiences I’ve had these past few months, it’s wrong to quantify my “performance” so narrowly. There is very little I would actually change about my sophomore year so far. Maybe I would have done better on my statistics project, or been a little more adept at some botched flirtations…but all in all, I feel very lucky.

As I look back through unfinished blog entries I started this semester, I’m reminded of the significant extent to which my time at Duke has been and will be formed by the people here—those I’ve met and those I haven’t. I figured rather than fishing those entries, I’d give a shout-out to the peeps who were featured in them.  Here are a few (in no particular order):

-The frat bros across the quad who never wear shirts. Is there some unspoken rule that once you get to your bench you’ve got the peal off the polo? I don’t judge, just curious. And in fact, I’d have it no other way. You, forever shirtless college boy, belong in the mosaic of my Duke experience.

-The Red Mango employees, especially when you bring out the miniature cookie dough bites. And also to the baristas at Bella Union—you never judged me for all the trail mix + bin candy (i.e. Sour Patch Kids).

-My fellow library moles. I don’t know your names, but after performing 6-hour study marathons with you in the library on a Sunday afternoon, I feel kind of attached to you all. You make life in the work cave less lonely. #PartyInPerkins

-Whoever bakes cookies routinely in the Kilgo dorm. I don’t know who you are, (or else I would have asked for one), but they always smell so, so good. Thanks for the…aroma? It reminds me of home.

-My friends who sat with me for three hours straight while I sobbed about a loss that was shaking my world. You held my head in your hands, and cried right alongside me. “Thanks” just doesn’t cut it.

-The Dukies with weird sleeping habits. Though I don’t understand how you can routinely stay up until 5am, I was definitely grateful for your company in Maclendon tower when I had to pull all-nighters to finish my public policy memos. 

-That one rando I always see around campus. I know you always see me too, so we should just meet already. If this continues next semester, I’m going to ask for your name. Be prepared. Our friendship would definitely be a convenient one.

-And all of you. You add texture, color, taste and energy to the Duke I experience. Thanks for letting this campus be the place where I’m not judged for the bad days, complete with greasy hair, mismatched socks, and the wrong set of notebooks in my backpack.

The above is neither complete nor articulate, but it does remind me to be grateful for where I go to school. Our Duke community is hardly perfect, but it is forgiving. And given all the learning opportunities (ahem. Mistakes.) I’ve made these past few months, that ain’t “no big deal.” At Duke, there’s almost always a second chance—another exam to take or a new friendship to find. That’s extraordinary privilege, and extraordinary opportunity. So as I lounge on my couch at home, having broken out my sweatpants at long last, I raise my glass to you, Duke. A semester well done!

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