My initial experience with Duke University came before I ever arrived on campus. It all began when people would ask me, “what college will you be attending upon graduation,” in which I would reply, “Duke”. At first, they would be shocked, gasp out a “congratulations”, and ask me the follow up question:
“What will you major in?”
The question always left me shocked. What was I going to major in? I knew that I had time before I had to actually declare my major, but their impulsive question made me stress. I thought: What should a Duke University student major in? Something science for sure and being that I was, at the time, fascinated by physics, I replied just that. Physics.
Duke University has this bubble around itself that relays the same information. Duke is a math and science school. The closest Duke gets to “the arts”, upon first glance, is the fact that the school itself holds a certain and famous beauty in its architectural style and aesthetically pleasing designs. Other than that, its visually appealing campus is only a facade for the students that fill its halls.
At O-Week, not one singular freshman had told me that they were here to pursue a major in art (or any artistic major in any sort). I simply got the usual: economics, statistics, environmental science, and pre-med (pre-med! pre-med!!!). Granted, many of the freshmen never had the chance to “explore their options” and “branch out” in “different” classes yet, but how will they branch out when they come in with a set mind? So many of my friends dread thinking about how they are going to fill out their ALP requirements before graduating. Many of them had told me “Angie, do not wait too long to fill out your ALP’s. Those classes will bite you in the a** later”. In which they were shocked to hear my answer that I had already completed my ALP’s and continue to take more.
For many students, the ALP classes are the closest they will ever get to even get to experience the multitude of art classes that Duke has to offer. I feel that not many people take pride in the multiple art events that Duke has to offer. People still are shocked when I tell them my list of classes and they hear “Drawing” listed. As if, they were not too sure that there were many (if any) art classes (like drawing or painting) offered at Duke, simply because Duke is known to be the math and science school and not the art school. My experience at Duke will always include some form of art in it. I continually try to get my friends to join me even though they claim, “I could never, I am not good at art”. Many people are told to not pursue something you are bad at because if you fail that is bad. The math and science community here at Duke is vigorous and builds up a wall that hurts when you crumble. The art community at Duke never builds that wall in the first place, and welcomes all with arms wide open.