My life has always been untraditional and when I arrived at Duke, I had no intention of making it traditional. My first week at Duke was spent doing a pre-orientation program centered around the arts, and I now am involved in many organizations on campus that support the arts. I have come to realize that art will not be a future for me, with good reason. I use art as an escape from the expectations and severe pressure on students at Duke. If I was to pursue art in an educational manner like any other field of study, it would quickly become weighed down with the rules of higher education. This is why, at Duke, I have become heavily involved in the arts, but only extracurricularly.
I have found that being an artist at Duke is fairly rare in comparison to my peers and likewise the community surrounding arts at Duke is fairly limited. Furthermore, the support given to the artistic communities on campus is way less than communities centered around STEM. I believe this is not entirely the fault of Duke, but more of a fault in the way the educational system is structured in the United States. It is based around money, and children are told from a very young age to become something that 1) makes a lot of money and 2) holds a lot of power (think lawyer, doctor, president, etc.). Nevertheless, I have found my niche in the student body at Duke. I realize that I do not attend an art school and should not expect the Duke community or administration to emphasize the arts; however, I hope that in my time here, I can pass on an appreciation for the arts and support the artistic community at Duke to help change the system from one of tunnel-visioned futures to one that supports peoples' desires and passions.