Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Eruditio et Religio

I have started serving on the local chapter of the Alumni Admissions Advisory Committee for Duke. This means I get to meet with and interview applicants in the North Charlotte area as well as serve as a resource for them as they go through the wait-and-see application process. I was drawn to this because I remember my journey to Duke and how many questions and discouraging times I had.

Let me begin by saying that I have always wanted to go to Duke -- even when my family had season tickets to UNC football games. My mother and I would drop my brother and dad off at Keenan Stadium and we would spend the day eight miles away exploring Duke's campus. Then I hit high school and realized how hard it would be to go to Duke. I went to several Admissions Open Houses held in my area and left one, in particular, feeling so distraught and intimidated that I began to look at other options. However, my mother, realizing I often sell myself short, piled me in her car and drove me the two hours to Durham to an on-campus open house. And I fell in love once more. Fast forward almost nine years and I get to touch other dreamers' lives by letting them know that, yes, Duke is a special, special place.

I met with one student today who was one of the more mature high school Seniors I've ever met. He said something at the end of the interview that caught me off quard coming from a 17-year-old -- "If you aren't learning when you are doing something, then why do it?" This was after I kept pressing him to tell me what he did for "fun" and every response was educational -- researching new technologies from China, studying the ancient Romans and Greeks, reading the latest in cardiology research . . . I finally was like "do you not watch TV?" He just laughed and gave me the sentence about making sure everything he does is educational. It certainly made this TV-obsessed Duke grad realize how even my TV watching is an example of how I sell myself short. I could be studying up on topics and news that interests me instead of doing something "easy" like watching mindless television.

Duke's motto is "Eruditio et Religio" which means Education and Religion. Those are two very important things to me but they don't always exist in my day-to-day life. It is something I am going to work on to pay homage to the University that, because I am a graduate, gives me confidence in who I am and what I can do in this world.