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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Dear Duke: EJ Proctor
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 07/10/2018
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This is Dear Duke, a summer series where our Class of 2018 seniors reflect on their time spent as student-athletes at Duke University.

Dear Duke,

When we met, I was just a kid from an hour down the road, and I had no idea how being on your campus for four years would change the person I was and my future - all for the better. Being from North Carolina, I did not think Duke could be all that different from anywhere else I had been, but I had a lot to learn.

On campus, I learned a great deal in the classroom, but I learned the most from the people I was lucky enough to be surrounded by day in and day out. I learned more about who I was and gained a better idea of the person I hope to become. I learned how to become comfortable with myself and my beliefs, and trust I was in a space of people who would listen, and try to understand, despite our various beliefs and backgrounds. In the classroom, I was taught by professors whose biographies I read and thought, “Wow, my professor won the Nobel Prize!” The best part, though, was they never carried themselves as if they had this form of accomplishment under their belts, but had the humility to ask us questions and admit their own shortcomings- a lesson one can never learn and observe enough. Not only was I surrounded by professors whom I grew to admire, but I was part of a student body who will one day be our world leaders that do not just lead, but lead with the purpose of giving a voice to those often silenced and strength to those who sometimes feel weak.

So, thank you, Duke. Thank you to all of the people who made it possible for me to attend this life-changing school. Thank you to every professor and classmate who helped me grow; to all of the housing and residence employees who made living in a dorm for three years (somehow) enjoyable; to the dining staff that cooked food good enough to make me dread senior year without a meal plan. Thank you to my coaches and Iron Dukes who made it possible for me to play the sport I love at one of my favorite places around.

This place has prepared me for my future in ways I never imagined, but the best part is it gave me my best friends, my second family, and memories with teammates I will forever hold dear to my heart.

Thank you, Duke. Forever a Blue Devil,

EJ Proctor

P.S. Thank you for crazy towel guy, too, who even joined us at team Thanksgiving. He helped make Duke special.