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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Dear Duke: Jillian Ferraro
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 06/26/2018
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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,

I’ve sat down to write this letter countless times in the past few days. However, I can’t seem to get past the first few lines. This is unlike me, I love to write and I have so much to say about Duke, but nothing feels right. It’s like no matter what I say, I can’t express my gratitude in words. 

To give you all a bit of a background about me, I came to Duke as a graduate student and as an alum of that school down the road. I bought into DUSB immediately because of Coach Young, as I had built a great relationship with her when she was my assistant coach at that other school. I had been through some tough times, and I felt that one year at Duke could be exactly what I needed. 

I came to get my master’s degree from a prestigious institution. But, I also came to be a part of the inaugural softball team, “Team One.” I hoped that my experience at the collegiate level combined with my respect for Coach could positively impact DUSB. 

I fast forward one year as Duke Softball’s first ever alum and realize that I came with hopes of positively impacting this program, but it is the program that has forever impacted me. 

If I sat here and listed all of the ways I am better because of this program, I would have gone from barely being able to write this letter — to we are going to be here all day.  But, I will say that I am a far greater person because of this coaching staff, my teammates, the support staff, Duke Athletics and the university as a whole. 

My time here at Duke has taught me much more than how to square up a pitch or throw out a runner. As a young woman, I leave Duke feeling empowered, strong, and loved. There is no greater gift than having those around you invest their time and effort into making you a better person. The coaches have become my role models, the girls have become my family and Duke has become my second home. 

When I committed to Duke, Coach Young sent me a text that said, “sometimes tough things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the most wonderful things that will ever happen to us.” Today I can honestly say that Duke is exactly where I was meant to be. 

Thank you Duke,

Jillian Ferraro

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