Blog

Blog Author:
Danielle Oakley, CAPS

Dear Duke Families,

It is a pleasure to meet you! I am the new director for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), a unit on campus that supports your student on a path toward academic success. I am excited to be here given the commitment Duke has made to student wellness. Many institutions across the country are working to address mental health issues based on the fact that mental health is the number one factor in lowering retention and is a better predictor of college grade point average than ACT or SAT scores. The 97% four-year retention rate to graduation at Duke demonstrates that retention is not a significant issue on this campus; highlighting that Duke’s focus is supporting mental health services because student wellness is valued.

Blog Author:
Stephen Bryan, Associate Dean of Students & Director, Student Conduct

Dear Undergraduate Student:

The Office of Student Conduct staff welcomes you (back) to Duke!  We know your time is valuable, so with that in mind, here are 10 things to keep in mind this year.  For the overwhelming majority of you, this list will never apply directly to you, so we especially THANK YOU for reading through these items— and perhaps you can be a persuasive voice to your peers in steering them away from some of the negative behaviors described below, should you see them heading down a potentially perilous path.

Blog Author:
A community response

Jack D explains what happened:

As many of you know, early in the morning yesterday someone entered my dorm and sprawled on the wall of the first floor, “Death to all fags @ Jack.” In just five words and an ‘at’ symbol, my sense of security and safety on this campus was shattered. 

Efforts have been made to find the assailant but the likelihood of success seems minimal. However, the person who wrote on the wall is greatly unimportant.

I would like for people to understand who I am. I wish to be a peer and not a name. I grew up near Boston with a single mother and siblings. I played sports throughout school and spent summers volunteering. I am a freshman but have lived as a proudly out and visible gay man on Duke’s campus. I am Jack. I am the fag. I do not deserve this treatment. No one deserves this treatment.

Blog Author:
Student Affairs Leadership

Dear students,

Yesterday, a wall of East Hall was defaced with defamatory language aimed at the LGBTQ+ community and an individual Duke student. While the language has been painted over, it does not erase the pain and fear. This is a very serious incident and we will continue to investigate. If you have information that you think would be helpful to us in learning more about who is responsible, we encourage you to contact the police or other university official. 

Blog Author:
Jo Supernaw, DUWell
Could you spend 1 minute looking directly into a friend's eyes without speaking.
Students attempt the effort at the Wellness Wednesday tent by DUWell.

Day in and day out, we rely heavily on communication for making connections and reaching goals, but often we encounter struggle, instances of miscommunication, particularly during difficult conversations. Miscommunication happens for many reasons: 

Blog Author:
Isabella Kwai, '16

Let me be entirely honest and open in what I’m about to say. Honesty after all, is so little found in conversations about mental health and yet so powerful when it is. I have, like 1 in 4 other young people my age, struggled with my mental health on and off. There have been times when I’ve been sick with hopelessness and misery, consumed with self-loathing and hatred. Likewise, there have times when I’ve been ecstatically happy and grateful. My emotional health is a mental rollercoaster and contains the best and worst memories for me. But it is not all of me.

Blog Author:
Justin Johnson '17

First of all, I would like to say congrats to the class of 2018 for choosing to come to Duke!  Soon you will realize that it was the best decision you have made in your entire life; personally, I could not be happier here.

Audience:
Blog Author:
Jose Sandoval, '16

Most people do not like talking about their problems, whether they are academic, financial or emotional – especially at a place like Duke. The stigma attached to mental health issues do not mix well with the Duke community. Things become a lot more daunting when there are unrelenting expectations to be the perfect student with an immaculate academic record; this quickly tears away at one’s self-esteem and life.

Audience:
Blog Author:
Gabby Sawyer, '18

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.

Audience:
Blog Author:
Ali Preston, '15

Hi Class of 2018! Congratulations on your recent graduations – now all that’s standing between you and Duke is a few months of summer!

My name is Ali Preston. I grew up in Tampa, FL, and graduated from Plant High School. After a freshman year spent taking Political Science, Religion, Finance, and German classes, along with an amazing Writing 101 class, I decided to dive – blind and headfirst – into a Psychology major and haven’t looked back.