Blog Author:
Elizabeth Hoyler, '16

The wait begins.

Yesterday I found out that I had become victim of government beaurocracy and needed to go to DC to arrange a passport emergency.  Last minute trip = little financial flexibility. Megabus it is. Gulp.

I get to the bus stop. Trepidation. I see several tired looking people in line in front of me. One woman holds a cigarette between her hands, getting the last hit before the 6-feels-like-60 hour-long journey begins. (I can’t blame her. I find myself trying to soak up all the fresh air I can.) Another man holds a plastic bag for his travel belongings. Everyone looks so tired, just like at Duke.

Hour 1
I get seated on the Megabus. Why is it that they seem to smell like a mixture between floral soap, cigarettes, and baby powder?

Blog Author:
Alex Shapanka

From the very moment we enter kindergarten our next thirteen or seventeen years are no longer up to us. Sure we can rebel, choose to drop out of school, or elect not to attend college. But we’re all at Duke, so I’m going to go out on limb and say we allowed our lives to be dictated by a cultural hegemony. Our immediate goal was decided for us – do well and move on to the next level of education. Of course we had opportunities to define our interests and seek complementary ventures, but the key word is complementary. With few exceptions we never chose to substitute our end game.

A Letter from Bill Wright-Swadel, Fannie Mitchell Executive Director of the Career Center

A liberal arts buffet is an educational meal of choice, depth, range, and integration - a mix of academics, experience, and reflection. However, a plate too full is a bad casserole, not a sumptuous feast.

During the fall semester I shared a tweet that was an appropriately cryptic version of the above statement on the Student Affairs/Career Center website. It was in many ways a summation of the conversation the career staff has with students all the time. “How can they take advantage of the wonderful opportunity that is Duke, while not becoming so immersed in the possibilities that the experience becomes a chaotic mix of too much, done not well enough?”

by Deja Beamon

Let me start of by stating my New Year’s resolution: I will proofread/edit my blogs from now on. I was really excited and passionate about the last blog I wrote, until I read it a week after it was published and realized it could have been A LOT better. I used it for another application and was able to incorporate Honey Boo Boo. I’m sorry you all missed out on that experience.

Now, onward. As Christmas break quickly approaches, fear enters my heart. How am I going to write four papers without my brain exploding? How am I going to go to happy hour with my friends from back home and still have enough money to buy my family gifts? Will I find the perfect NYE dress?


Submitted by Alex Shapanka

A dark cloud of practicality has befallen Duke’s campus. In recent years, our university and the student population alike have shifted the emphasis of our education from learning to preparation. Everything we do now is meant to serve ‘the’ higher purpose – it is in some way supposed to ready us for the ‘real’ world.

Maybe I’m naïve, but I don’t believe the purpose of an education is to make a student look competitive as he or she searches for a job. We came to college to learn, not just to collect a degree, though that’s the only thing that seems to matter to most. While a degree is necessary, you don’t need more than one, and it should not be your focus. All it does is tell third parties that you’ve completed a set of prescribed requirements. But your education is for you not anyone else.

By Alex Shapanka

Remember how every adult you know wanted to impart last minute wisdom as you headed off to college? I don’t know about you, but I wrote it off as generic and common sense. “Enjoy it. It goes by quickly.” “The next four years make the next forty.” In other words don’t screw up. Got it. Though I dismissed it, as I imagine many of you did as well, their thoughts were genuine and sound advice.

As I enter senior year, I finally realized I couldn’t fully appreciate what the ‘grown-ups’ said a few years ago, simple and poignant as it may have been, because we can’t completely understand that which we haven’t experienced, and I had not grown-up yet -- I still haven’t, but their advice is starting to be more meaningful.