BackgroundInterview Date:July 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: African American
Graduation Year: 2021
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: Public school in Charlotte, North Carolina with a graduating class of 100 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in the Black Men’s Union, a gospel choir, an acapella group, and the Black Student Alliance Invitational.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I attended the Black Student Alliance Invitational as a prospective student, and it had a big impact on me coming to Duke. I got to meet tons of Duke students, and it gave me an insight into the Black culture on campus.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
Being a science major is pretty intense. There are several hours of homework a night. This is typically me trying to keep up with the material, not necessarily specific assignments. For my math courses, there will be daily assignments and problem sets to keep up with.
Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
There are tons of advisors in the Biology department. I got my own advisor who has experience with both the pre-medical track and the sciences, so they help you decide which path to take.
How would you describe the learning environment? Is it particularly competitive or collaborative?
I would say it’s a mixture of both and a lot of my friends are supportive of each other. We are here to grow together and help each other out. It’s collaborative, but because it’s a prestigious university there is a competitive aspect to it.
How accessible have your professors been so far?
Extremely accessible. If you need help, the professors make a point to set up a meeting with you.
What has been your favorite class so far?
Black Art History.
What has been your least favorite class so far?
Organic Chemistry. It’s very intense and I don’t think I was fully prepared to keep up with the pace of the class.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’ve always had an interest in biology. I’ve been set on this path since the eighth grade.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived over the past two years?
Freshman: Brown Residence Hall with roommates in the Cardea Fellows
Sophomore: RA in Gilbert-Addoms with no roommates
How was transitioning from Charlotte to Durham, NC?
It wasn’t that bad. I only live two hours away, so it was a short drive.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Dame’s Chicken and Waffles.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
There is a place off-campus called Sky Zone. It’s a trampoline park with food and games to play. It’s a good stress reliever.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
Duke is pretty safe. There are police officers stationed across campus 24/7, and at night there is one stationed at the bus stops.
Pros and cons of being located in Durham, North Carolina?
1) It’s a small community, so you get to know the members who live around you.
2) Durham has a nice uptown with different activities and food places.
1) Because it’s a small community, you can be limited to fewer activities, but the options they have are of quality.
2) The transportation is lacking if you don’t have a car.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I don’t do much other than going out for dinner with friends in the Durham area. A bunch of students hold events in their living situations and all over campus.
What do you like to do with your friends?
I like to go out to eat, go to Sky Zone, go bowling, or stay on campus and just invite people over to my apartment. We also have video game stations around campus. There are lots of extracurricular activities on campus. Duke will promote different organizations to hold concerts or events that students can come to. Duke also holds movie nights in different recreational centers every weekend.
What have been some of your favorite times at Duke?
Hanging out with my friends. The Black community is pretty strong, so a lot of times we are just hanging out in a dorm or going to one of these off-campus activities.
How happy were you with the nightlife options at Duke? If you could change anything, what would you change?
I’m very satisfied. If you ask Duke for money to create something they do a good job of giving it to you. Devils After Dark is an organization that holds weekend events such as dodgeball.
How did you meet your closest friends?
At the Black Student Alliance Invitational.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
A lot actually. I would say Duke is very open and accepting of any sexual orientation, gender, or racial group. There are events geared toward accepting all of these demographics.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Duke?
Duke has a pretty open environment and we don’t limit who can come to social events. Certain racial groups have their own events where it’s only for people of that demographic, but overall, it’s pretty open.
How would you describe the student body?
It’s mostly White, and there is a high percentage of Asian students. The Black community is small but very close. [Duke’s student body is 44% White, 21% Asian-American and 10% Black.]
Do people generally seem happy with their college choice by senior year? Do people love your school?
I’ve had instances where my graduating friends are crying because they are going to miss the experience. I’d say students are satisfied by the time they graduate. It’s a hard school, but there are tons of great parts as well.
How has the size of Duke influenced your social experience? [There are about 7,000 undergraduate students at Duke.]
It’s a small size so you get to know everyone eventually. It can be exhausting seeing the same people every day, but this just means you get to know them better. I’ve enjoyed having a small school because I get to know my friends better than I would otherwise.
How strong is the community for people of color on Duke’s campus?
It’s very close I’d say. All the activities held that target our demographic help build this community. The Black Student Alliance Invitational is a good way for people to get to know students from other grade levels.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I’m only a sophomore so I have not had contact with the alumni, but I’m sure I will when I’m further along in my major.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I have used it, and they were very helpful. They helped me establish my resume and find summer internships and jobs. They also helped me decide what path to take within my major.
Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that have been or will be especially helpful professionally?
Not at Duke specifically. Before coming to Duke, I did take an Excel course, and I plan on taking a Computer Science course in the future.
Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs? Were they responsive to your questions?
I am on financial aid, and I’d say the office is very accommodating. Duke is very expensive, but they are considerate in knowing what resources you have to pay. [In Fall 2018, undergraduate tuition was $53,760. Admission at Duke is need-blind and they meet 100% of demonstrated need of students.]
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Duke before entering as a freshman?
The breadth of resources can sometimes be overwhelming. Not knowing about the resources offered can hurt you, but it’s helpful if you take the time to comb through the different opportunities.
What is something somebody should know that has not been mentioned?
[There have been racist incidents] so be prepared for this mentally. We have had instances of racial epithets written on the walls of certain buildings. Be in the mindset that just because you are in college, you aren’t isolated from it.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Duke Chapel is an experience. You can overlook all of Duke and Durham at the top.
Reasons to attend Duke:
1) There are tons of resources to use to your benefit.
2) Being a small school helped me get to know my friends and professors better.
3) Duke has great dining hall food.
Reasons to not attend Duke:
1) Sometimes you can feel isolated or secluded being in a small community.
2) The academic rigor can be a problem for students.