Advice for Incoming Duke Graduate Students

Advice for Incoming Duke Graduate Students

October 12, 2019 2 By Stanley Isaacs


This is Duke University. I think if I could go back I would just reassure myself
that I’ve gotten myself this far and that I can get myself over the next year, the next however many years it takes to get my degree,
and just to really trust myself and to believe that I can
do it. I wish I had known that it’s okay to not
always be a grad student, that it’s okay to just have fun and take some time off and decompress. Duke has so many opportunities here and it’s really important to just get involved in those as much as possible. I feel like it’s hard when you’re first starting
out that you really want to focus on what you’re trying to focus your dissertation
on and what you’re trying to do in your time here, you kind of might not take advantage of all the opportunities, and Duke is a school where there are just so many things going on all the time. There’s going to be a lot of meetings and seminars
and you really have to get organized, and so Google Calendar or any form of calendar
is going to be your best friend. The first thing that you should absolutely
do is attend all the events that you can attend
beyond the orientation and the things that are required of you in the program.
It is so amazing to just talk with people. Talk with students who are in the program.
Talk with advisers. Talk with the faculty. Really get to know who you’ll be seeing over
the next couple years. You definitely need to go to one of the Duke
basketball games. It was so much fun. And also, for grad students,
you get to do a campout to get the whole season ticket for the basketball games.
Campout is a really good opportunity for all the students to mingle with each other. The Eno Rriver, too, is also really great place to go check things out,
especially for me as a biology student. I think one thing you should absolutely do
is engage as much as possible. And by that I mean joining all the clubs that
interest you, talking to anyone that you think could potentially
help you in any way. I would say within the first weeks of you being
here, map out your whole career here at Duke.
Have a solid, efficient plan, and stick to that plan. One thing you have to do the North Carolina is go out and taste the food. Seriously, get out, get away from the grad school, get away from Duke,
and have a meal, relax a little bit, and then come back energized. Be open-minded about doing things that may make you uncomfortable because later on it may be something you find that you enjoy. Just meet people. Don’t be afraid to just reach out and meet people, because you’ll be surprised what types of
people you meet here at Duke. One tip I’d give to incoming students is
that they need to realize that everyone here is rooting for them.
When I came here I was really terrified of failing
and of not measuring up. Very quickly I came to realize that
the faculty, the grad school, everyone here at Duke, is on our side. You’ll be bogged down with the writing.You’ll be bogged down with the amount of reading. But just savor it.
it’s an experience you’ll have forever.