Duke Orientation Pt. 2

Alright, to continue where I left off yesterday. Jared got moved into his dorm room and was able to meet his roommate and his roommate’s family briefly. Though we didn’t actually move his stuff from the car to the room or move any furniture around, Mom, Dad, and I were pretty tired by the time we got back to the hotel that night.

Wednesday was another early morning though not quite as bad. The students had a financial aid presentation to attend in the morning and there was a Trinity presentation that Mom wanted to go to for parents. In all honesty, I was a little confused as to why the two weren’t flipped. It just seemed to me that the parents would be more interested in the financial aid seeing as they’re the ones who have to worry about it. We got to the Trinity meeting a little late. Staff on hand told us that we could either sit in the lobby and watch a telecast of the talk or we could try to find a seat on the steps in the auditorium. Mom, of course, opted to go into the auditorium. To be honest, I didn’t really pay attention to the people that were speaking. Trinity is one of the schools at Duke. Duke, like some schools, is divided into smaller, sub-colleges that focus on more specific subjects. Officially called Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, it’s the liberal arts college for undergraduates at Duke. Also at Duke are the Pratt School of Engineering, the Nicholas School of the Environment, and the Sanford School of Public Policy. Growing up one state over, I’d say that Trinity and Pratt are the more popular schools, having heard their names more often. But I suppose that’s to be expected considering that they’re the bigger colleges (I think).

After both the Trinity meeting and the financial aid presentation, there was something called the Convocation. Parents could watch by telecast in either Reynolds or Paige auditorium while the freshmen were front and center for the ceremony in Duke chapel. The professors donned their black robes and processed in, sitting at the front of the chapel on the altar. A few different professors, the president, and the senior class president all spoke but the speech that I enjoyed the most was by Christoph Guttentag who is the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions. Funny and animated, I found him very enjoyable. Steve Nowicki, Dean of Undergraduate Education at Duke, was another speaker. I liked his speech as well. Nowicki started off his talk by taking out his iPhone and taking a picture of the freshmen to upload to Twitter. Surprisingly (as she pointed out when it was her turn to speak) student government president, Alex Swain, was the only one not to refer to Twitter in her speech. President Brodhead (president of the university) also spoke to the incoming students. While he seems like a nice enough man, I didn’t find his talk as compelling as some of his colleagues. I thought he had a bit of an odd way of breaking up his sentences, kind of like Obama. But that’s just my bias.

After Convocation everyone was invited to the quad for boxed lunches. We had a bit of trouble finding Jared but managed after about 10 minutes. Cell phones sure do come in handy. It was nice getting to sit with him and eat lunch under one of the trees on campus. It was normal. He talked about his house and FAC meetings the night before and about the financial aid meeting that morning and how he’d actually woken up before his alarm went off (for anyone who doesn’t know him, that’s amazing. Now we’ll just have to see how long it keeps up). He had a meeting with his faculty advisor (I think that’s what they’re called) so we walked back to the bookstore and bought Duke t-shirts before driving over to East Campus where his dorm was. Turns out his advisor is the rabbi on campus. Dad was impressed.

By this point in the day I think I was starting to crash a little because I got a mild headache and was getting slightly irritated. I know I wasn’t necessarily in the best of moods when we did a quick Target run once he got back. Not that I wasn’t happy to spend a little more time with Jared because that’s not it. I love my brother. I think it was just being tired was catching up at that point and I needed some caffine to make my head stop hurting and I knew that we still had a 5-6 hour drive home. But I got a drink at Target and things were much better by the time we got back to East Campus. Henry had rented a microwave/freezer/fridge combo for the year and it was there when we got back to the room. Dad and Jared set up one of the multi-plug entension cord things so that it ran inbetween the two desks. Mom had to rehang the poster I got him for graduation since the hook she’d put it on wasn’t strong enough. I found it at a Nostalgia store in South Bend and knew it’d be perfect for him.

It’s called the Family Tree of American Rock.

The tree is made up of all these different band names and then at the base are road signs of the important music cities (e.g LA, New York, Nashville) pointing in different directions. The poster his girlfriend made him is the only other thing hanging up unless he’s put up his Beatles and Flight of the Conchords posters. The poster Hannah (girlfriend) made is awesome though. She took cassette tape and used that to make a picture of Cat Stevens and then made it look like the whole thing is coming out of a Cat Stevens cassette at the bottom of the picture.

I’m not sure Mom wanted to leave. She kept saying stuff like “well, you could do this, or if that doesn’t work you could always change it and try it like this or don’t forget to do this, etc.” I know I’m gonna miss him too, but we had to leave at some point. I think Mom felt a little better leaving him than when she and Dad dropped me off at school. Not because she won’t miss him or anything like that, but because Jared already had some friends from that hiking trip not to mention he and Henry seemed to get on well.

I know I’m going to miss him between now and Christmas when I’ll see him next, but I’m not worried about him. I know he’s going to be great. Duke, you have gained an incredible student.

❤ Rachel


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