True Blue: Meet José Sandoval


"Keeping It Real"
Hailing from the streets of Compton, California, I realized early in life that I did not fit the preconceived, stereotypical image of the kid from the so-called “ghetto”.  Although I was surrounded by a world of drugs and violence, I was not going to try to become something I was not. I would not let those disparities phase me…ever. I went with my own flow.
True Blue and the Wellness Center here on campus helped me find my direction from the start. I was a part of the Wellness Community on East Campus this past Thumbnail year and do not regret it. I have met some of the most amazing people at Duke because of my involvement with the Wellness Center. I arrived at Duke knowing that I was going be in a completely new environment, a foreign land almost. I knew no one and no one knew me. It was a strange feeling. I had a clean slate. However, I was not going to be a fake and live in a lie just to impress others. I wanted to make friends, genuine friends who enjoyed my presence. I did not have to pretend that I came from a lavish boarding school or wealthy community in order to fit in. Staying true to myself worked perfectly fine. In doing so, Duke quickly went from being my school to being my home.

Wellness, to me, doesn’t just revolve around the stigma of being substance free. It involves immersing yourself in a community of individuals that foster a similar way of life: interests, music, and passion for thriving in life. I do not want to say that Wellness has been the only community that I am involved in on campus, but it certainly is one of the most influential. Some people might criticize my involvement with the Wellness Community, but I will not let their disapproval or remarks discourage me from keeping it real. I stay true to my actions and decisions. I credit a lot of my social and academic successes during my freshman year at Duke to Wellness. I was able to find my True Blue easily. Keeping it real has gotten me this far and it will continue leading me in the right direction. My words of advice to first year students- Keep it real. Always.

--José Sandoval