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I feel that I have had many advantages as a result of being raised in North Carolina. The weather is moderate, there are beautiful coastal areas, but most importantly, being in North Carolina means being close to Duke. As a born and bred North Carolinian, conversations about rivalry did not center around United States and North Korea. Instead, I was raised to understand that when Duke played UNC in basketball, it was a serious business.
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The first time I ever visited the Duke campus was when I was ten years old. One of my father’s business contractors gave my family tickets for a home basketball game in the Cameron Indoor Stadium. The seats were not great, but I barely noticed. I was enamored with the surreal feeling that I got when I arrived at the campus. I felt like I was in a place that was brimming with excitement, and passion, and liveliness, about sports but also about science, literature, and the arts. The student body did not seem to be content with polite complacency, but rather, I could see that the Duke community embraced enthusiasm and eagerness. I certainly enjoyed the experience, and it stuck in my mind for years later. The next time I was on the Duke campus was for a much different purpose. In February of my freshman year of high school, my school’s Speech and Debate Team traveled to the University to attend the Annual Blue Devil Classic Debate Tournament. That day solidified my path for the future. I knew Duke was the school for me. Everything from the gothic architecture of the buildings, to the Chapel’s shades of smooth slate-gray stone, to the blue canopy swings dispersed throughout the campus, all gave me the feeling that here, I was home.
I am undoubtedly drawn to Duke’s vast accomplishments, the school’s strong, progressive mix of academics and compassion, and the top-rated medical and engineering programs. What sets Duke apart from other schools is that the community is welcoming while simultaneously pushing its students to achieve their greatest heights. I can honestly say that spending time on the Duke campus has made me reconsider my place and my potential in this world. I am not even a Duke student yet but I already feel empowered by the university, and experience a sense of pride with the mention of the school. I believe that a Duke education will lead me to expand my mindset, bring me to a higher state of being, and therefore, I can truly excel and have a meaningful impact on our world. I feel as though I am a Blue Devil already. The values of Duke University run deep inside me, to the point where I bleed blue.
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