What is your favorite part of serving as Chair of Duke@Nite?
I enjoy being able to play a role in something that matters! Duke@Nite is so inclusive and open to everyone, and I really like that. During my freshman year, I felt like I did not know how to do anything and was getting rejected from more competitive clubs that required applications. Duke@Nite invited me in with open arms, and I am happy that we are actually able to execute weekly programming. The online setting makes this less intrinsically satisfying and more exhausting, but I appreciate still being able to connect with people.
What would you say has been the most influential moment in your life that has brought you to where you are today?
In the beginning of this year, I was going through a sophomore crisis, trying to decide what I wanted to declare as my major. The pandemic made me realize there is nothing that I value more than having the certainty of something in life, and during these times, this is not always the case. I have realized that nothing will ever be certain, so I cannot rely on that. While going through this tough time, I was not doing too well in classes, constantly debating whether I wanted to continue on the pre-med path or not. I called my sister, and she asked me, “What do you ACTUALLY want to do?” I haven’t ever really thought about what I wanted to do, only what I could do, and this made me realize that it was important to do just that. The pre-med track offers me a level of certainty, as I take these classes, do these extracurriculars, apply to med school, eventually become a doctor, and work in the same place. My life is mapped out for me. With other fields, there is so much less certainty in how my life will turn out.
My college advisor asked me what I do to relax, and this made me realize that I needed to make a change this semester. I must be more intentional in spending time just sitting there, doing nothing. I have learned to say no, which at times, takes everything, but I realized that this is okay.
What makes you feel most accomplished?
I feel most accomplished knowing that what I am doing actually matters. This is harder when things are online, as everything is reduced to one screen: classes, friends, virtual programming, etc. Experiences seem to get lost in the void.
I am trying to figure out better ways to measure college success other than an SAT score, and I really just want to help people. That is what I think life is about, whether that be putting on virtual events, tutoring others and being able to explain something to someone that no one has before, or just being there for someone. That is what matters to me and makes me feel accomplished.
How do you define success for yourself?
This is something that I struggle with, and whether or not it is okay to not give 100% to every single thing. It has taken me time to understand that it is actually okay to not be the best, and I continuously tell myself this. For example, I did worse in Math 212 than Orgo, so I completelygave up taking math again. I studied more in math than Orgo, so I gave it up because I wasn’t the best. I am working on fully learning this lesson that being successful is trying my best and knowing that I gave my best. Whenever I am hard on myself, I always ask myself, “Would I treat my friend like this? Or someone that I know is struggling?” I still struggle applying the things that I say to other people to console them to myself, but I am working on it.
What is something that you wish you could have told yourself as you were applying to colleges or before starting at Duke?
Listen to the adults and people in your life! In high school, I took 5 AP classes instead of 3 one year, despite advice against this. I took Multi and Orgo at the same time freshman fall, despite advice against this while struggling to adjust to living on my own. I wish I would have known that it is okay to not figure it out freshman year, and I need to make the most out of every moment.
In your ideal future, what will you be doing in ten years?
I think something where I can keep learning for my own self, whether that be academia or grad school. I have also considered being a high school teacher, but I am not sure if I want to do that with the way that primary and secondary education is treated in the United States. I hope to pursue a career in a field of education, where I am able to explain things to people. I want to be doing something that matters, maybe improve the currently terrible access to mental health resources by being an additional certified mental health clinician.
How do you stay inspired? Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, artists, etc. that you’d recommend?
I am not an avid listener of inspirational or self-help podcasts. I am inspired and motivated by real-life news stories and problems that are in the world. Not everything is sad, though, and there are just as many happy news stories about things that work out well. Within DUU, I stay inspired knowing that the work I do, such as putting on weekly trivia, is making a difference in someone’s life.
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.
I made a chart in Word about the things I did wrong last semester that I want to do differently, such as go to office hours or spatially separate my classes. I intend to seek help before it gets too late and be a better advocate for myself. I want to make more progress towards internalizing the ways I tell others about how to overcome imposter syndrome.
Describe yourself in three words.
Committed, Enthusiastic, Selfless
Where are you the happiest?
Any moment where I’m with other people! I’d say two of my happiest moments were Midnight Breakfast freshman year, as this was a moment in college where everything was just happy. Also, March 7th, 2020 in KVille was such an incredible day.
Now for some rapid fire fun questions!
What is your favorite study spot on campus?
I’d have to say the Trinity Common Room or Third Floor Perkins. I can’t study and talk, I have to do one or the other. Fun Fact: I have never studied in Vondy!
What is your favorite ice cream topping?
If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
Anywhere in the world! Somewhere that is not my childhood bedroom in Bellevue, Washington. Specifically, I’d say Africa or Asia, as I have been able to visit Central and South America a lot. I was involved in a service organization in high school, and through this, visited Haiti and Nicaragua.
What’s your go-to guilty pleasure?
90s Dance Music
What activity instantly calms you?
Anything that makes sense or just being around other people! The pandemic has taught me that I am an extrovert, and Zoom just doesn’t cut it for me. I also do the New York Times crossword everyday.
If you could have an exotic animal as a pet, what would it be?
I am not a big animal person, but I’d say an exotic bird, like a parrot, would be cool!
Do you hit the snooze button or wake up immediately?
It depends. The first two weeks of the semester, I am up and ready to go. Come November, I don’t leave my room as much. I had 5:30 am and 6:00 am classes last spring when I was home on the West Coast, which has made me become a morning person.
What would be the title of your memoir?
This Title Intentionally Left Blank (Same As My Mind)
What’s the most unusual place you’ve fallen asleep?
Couches outside Love Auditorium in LSRC
What’s your idea of the perfect date (yes, of the calendar year)?
December 20th because finals are done and everything is happy!