Duke is...

By Samantha Su

Duke is the worry over whether everything will fit in the trunk of the rental car as I count down the hours to my move in time

Duke is regurgitating the same three question script of O-week to random strangers as we awkwardly fumble through conversations of hometowns, majors, and dorms

Duke is my first frat party and a drunken “sorry!” as someone splashes vodka on me

Duke is me texting my mom good morning each day

Duke is bursting into tears when walking back to my dorm, and the startled look on my friend’s face as I tell them I’m fine

Duke is wanting to jump ahead in time to when I feel happy here, to when I recognize the people around me, and to when I can call Duke home

Duke is a fifteen-minute consultation in CAPS as the psychologist awkwardly hands me a box of tissues and reminds me that this is just a consultation

Duke is having deep conversations until 3 am with people I just met, but who make me feel accepted

Duke is breakfast in Marketplace with my friend from a discussion class

Duke is laughing until my sides hurt as I feel that I finally have close friends

Duke is a three hour lab on a Monday

Duke is a cancelled class; it’s empty shelves in Harris Teeters before the hurricane comes

Duke is the light rain deemed a hurricane; its two tornado warnings when class starts up again

Duke is anxiously checking Sakai after an exam

Duke is trying new things, even if it scares me

Duke is hour long Facetime calls with my parents

Duke is spending too many food points on iced coffee

Duke is joining new organizations; it’s meeting people who are so genuine and kind and supportive

Duke is to trust the process,“O week sucks,” “another Duke scandal,”“effortless perfection is a myth” and the infamous “let’s grab lunch”

Duke is learning to hold onto the parts of yourself you love

Duke is growth; it’s reconciling identities and exploring opportunities

Duke is finally starting to feel like more than just the university I attend