This is Dear Duke, a summer series where our Class of 2018 seniors reflect on their time spent as student-athletes at Duke University.
Writing this letter isn’t easy. You’re making me confront the realization that, for the first time in a while, I will not be returning to campus this August. Five years ago my parents had to make me take a recruiting trip to Duke (I was naïve). Fast-forward five years later, and having to force me to visit Duke sounds like a joke. Even just thinking about the school puts a big smile on my face, and I already can’t wait to visit.
Despite my reservations, the transition to being 2,800 miles away from home was not hard given that I had a built-in family of 50 new friends waiting for me. It wasn’t just my teammates though, it was everyone I interacted with: my coaches, my trainers, the athletic department, my professors and even visiting alumni. The “Duke Family” is not just a saying; it is a real feeling. The people that I have come in contact with during my time at Duke have changed my life.
I have only been out of school for a few months and I can already feel the impact that Duke and my team have had on my ability to succeed in the real world. The invaluable lessons I have learned and the personal growth I experienced while at Duke have prepared me to take on the world with as much confidence as I had when I stood behind the starting blocks.
It has been an honor to have represented Duke in and out of the pool, and I am forever grateful to be a Blue Devil. Duke, you have given me so much more than swimming and even so much more than a degree, you have given me friends and memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you for helping me grow as an athlete, student and person; for pushing me out of my comfort zone; and for breaking me down but helping me to get back up. You allowed me to not only accomplish my dreams in the pool, but also pursue my future dreams in life as well – and for that, I am forever grateful.
Durham is my second home and Duke is my family.
Thank you and see you soon Bull City.