In my bed. I’m a huge napper, so I spend a lot of time here (**alone!)
In all seriousness, I am happiest when surrounded by a group of eight friends who give me energy and are found in my community. Anywhere that I am with this kind of group of people is definitely where I feel the happiest. (Editor’s Note: Yes, I asked, and it is in fact specifically eight people!)
Energetic, Community-Oriented, Passionate
What is one thing that you are committed to trying in 2021? This could be a project you’ve always wanted to complete, a new skill you’d like to develop, etc.
In 2021, I want to get into meal-prepping, which is a sign of the times, I’m just old. I want to eat better as well as find happiness in cooking and eating well. I am going to try to be more adventurous in the kitchen in a way that works for me, and I think meal prepping is the right balance.
How do you stay inspired? Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, artists, etc. that you’d recommend?
I stay inspired by spending my days in the DUU office in a normal pre-pandemic year, surrounding myself with creatives. I remain open to trying new things creatively, listening to other people’s recommendations music and podcast-wise, not being tied to what I already know I like.
I also gain inspiration from the outdoors. I work at the rock climbing wall through Duke Rec and also spend time in the outdoor outcomminty to get a reset and refocus my attention at Duke, both academically and through a life-perspective.
In terms of podcast recommendations, anything by Brenè Brown is phenomenal. I can also always go for a true crime podcast, it’s like a movie for your ears!
Success for myself means pushing myself to take an uncomfortable risk, being okay with not knowing and surrendering control in different scenarios, and looking back saying that regardless of the outcome, I knew that I made the right decision. I can get stuck in a comfortable space, but when I push the boundaries of my comfort level, taking risks and saying yes without more information, if I can look back on that action, knowing that was the right choice regardless of a positive or negative outcome.
What would you say has been the most influential moment in your life that has brought you to where you are today?
This is not a specific time, but during my first year at Duke, I went through a mindset shift and really attached myself to the idea of doing things that make me happy as well as pursuing things that I want to do because I want to do them. I find comfort in the fact the people who I meet through being true to myself are the people I am going to have the deepest relationships with. Relationships are what I value over most other things, and the best way to have those relationships be genuine is to have a really good sense of myself first. This mentality has only gotten stronger as I have moved through Duke, and I continue to work on prioritizing this. This is definitely very different from how I interacted in high school, and this shift has changed the trajectory of my life.
As graduation is right around the corner, what is the one thing that you are going to miss most about Duke?
I am going to miss having access to so many different people. I am someone who thrives off meeting new people, forming new relationships, and diving into other people’s lives. I am definitely going to miss being able to do that so many different times with various people, learning about myself along the way through this. In general, I am going to miss everything being with other people. I’ve come to realize that a lot of times after graduation are spent alone, which is good and has its own place, but what is unique about the Duke experience is that you do very few things alone, and that is going to be missed.
Friends that you meet in the different stages of your time at Duke mean different things. As you change as a person at Duke, your friends are going to change, and who you surround yourself with, specifically who you want to surround yourself with, is going to change, and that is okay. I wish I could have come to Duke knowing that is a profound part of this experience, leaning into that, being flexible, and being critically evaluative of who I am in this moment, who I want to be, and who I need to surround myself with to be there. I have come to realize that each friend has a different place in my life. So, TL;DR, let’s normalize friends changing.
I think it is really easy to look at people at Duke and think they have followed a linear path to where they are. However, what you know about them is never really the whole story, and it is super important to take the time to remember how winding your path is, how many dead ends there are, as everyone does this. Not a single person walks straight through their Duke experience. There is always so much about someone that you don’t know, which is a beautiful and under-appreciated aspect of our community that I know I have navigated and found a lot of comfort in.
I looked back at my “Why Duke?” essay at the beginning of my senior year, and I had mentioned that I was interested in Economics, Public Policy, and Environmental Science. Now, here I am, about to graduate with a double major in Economics and Public Policy with a minor in Environmental Science. So, these are the main things that I have studied at Duke. With Economics, I just really like math and numbers, and I feel that what I have learned is applicable to life after graduation in a variety of fields. Yet, I felt that I was lacking in a holistic knowledge base, which is why I adopted the Public Policy portion. Through this, I get to learn a lot about the world and society we live in. In regards to Environmental Science, I have always found a passion and interest in this, and to be real, I didn’t major in it because I didn’t want to take Chemistry.
I definitely enjoy all three greatly and have taken classes at the intersection of these, which have been my favorite classes. I am able to put together knowledge that I know about each individually to create solutions to bigger problems we face in the world today.
Early on in my time at Duke, I met a lot of people who were involved in DUU, and they were people that I looked up to. The way in which they talked about DUU made me excited to look more into it and see what it was all about. I went to the General Body Meeting during First Big Week and applied to the First-Year Intern (FIP) Program because I thought it would be a good way to get involved very quickly. I also started showing up to Special Events meetings to get my foot in the door, start learning and just put myself out there. I was the Non-Programming FIP, continued on SPEV, and went from there!