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:
Betty Chen T'17

Dear second-semester Betty (and any others who might be listening in):

Congratulations!  You made it through your first semester at Duke.  You figured out the shortcut to get from Physics to the bus stop; found the best coffee on campus and then promptly spent all your food points; and cleaned your room for the first time since move-in.  Take a moment, and celebrate yourself.

When second semester starts, it’s going to be a little overwhelming.  There are calendars and schedules for classes you aren’t fully familiar with yet, and then SLG rush and club meetings every evening, and then you spend the weekends in recruitment or catching up with friends.


And then:

Blog Author:
Jo Supernaw, DUWell
Thumbnail 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: 

By Tyler Kim

While tanning out in the Hawaiian sun, I suddenly think about how my first year went. There were some good moments, some bad moments, an accomplishment or two that I’m really proud of, and even something that I wish I could take back. Even though there were some aspects of freshman year that I wanted to do-over again, I had to acknowledge that I didn’t know what was going on, and that’s something you guys should realize as you experience freshman year. Just do the best you can and learn from your mistakes.

Blog Author:
Daniel Strellman

Thumbnail By Daniel Strellman

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:
Elizabeth Hoyler, '16

(Entry #3 in the series) Recently, I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Associate Director for Outreach and Development Programming for CAPS and all-around nice guy Gary Glass. The topic: relationships. Relationships in general, with no particular person in mind. It was the first time I'd discussed the topic at length, ever. My conclusion? We should do this more often. Here's #3!

Blog Author:
Justin Johnson '17

Thumbnail In my opinion, one of the more difficult aspects of the transition to college has to do with academics.  Being one of the top universities in the country, Duke’s courses are likely more difficult and demanding than what you experienced in high school.

Blog Author:
Jose Sandoval

Thumbnail It is up to you to define your college experience. Do not depend on anyone else to do that for you. Whether you chose to become a part of Greek life, SLGs, or staying independent, that is strictly your decision.