This is Dear Duke, a summer series where our Class of 2018 seniors reflect on their time spent as student-athletes at Duke University.
You were more than I could’ve ever asked for. When I first decided to come to Duke, I was nervous and anxious about what would confront me in my four years. I had been told by the people around me to cherish the time in college, a four-year experience that would be unforgettable.
I arrived at Duke in August of 2014 incredibly young and naïve, excited and ready for the challenges that I would face. I, like every college freshman, was overwhelmed with a feeling of never-ending chaos. There was always a practice to get to, a paper to write or friend to meet up with for dinner. Freshman fall was chaotic until I had the chance to meet Dr. White, who gave me the best advice I could’ve asked for at the time. He said that every student-athlete at Duke wants to transfer at one point in his or her four years. That took the weight off my shoulders – I wasn’t alone.
Duke University, you have taught me how to handle adversity, how to prioritize, how to manage time, and most importantly you have taught me how to build relationships that I will cherish forever. I never thought that I would sit in the same classroom with Olympic athletes or future world-renowned doctors, but here I am four years later.
Duke, you have given me the opportunity to grow as an athlete and as a person. I was able to experience winning an ACC Championship while at Duke, as well as making it to the NCAA National Championship semifinals. I earned a degree from one of the best institutions in the world, all while making lifelong friends and memories. Thank you for inviting me into your family four years ago, and thank you for the endless life lessons I have learned while in Durham.
Thank you, Duke.
Love, Jake Shuman