It’s very fitting that right now, as I type this post, I am back at Duke a second time in two months, sitting at a computer station in Lilly Library on Duke University’s East Campus.
Just last month, I came to Duke for my reunion. It had been five years– five long/short years since I graduated from this school in Durham, North Carolina. It had been long enough for me to have fictionalized the gothic wonderland into an imagined place. The contours of the campus faded into the corners of my memory. I had been out of school longer than I had been in it. And yet, in five short years, not that much had changed on campus. The main buildings were as they had always been. This had been my home for four incredibly formative years. And after a few initial hours of walking around in shock and awe and a hearty dose of nostalgia, it basically felt like home again.
It was amazing to be back and to see old friends.
The centerpiece of Duke’s West Campus: the Chapel.
A few frames from East Campus, with its Georgian architecture– brick and columns.
My first home at Duke, Alspaugh.
One of my must-have stops in Durham: Locopops! Gourmet popsicles in all sorts of amazing flavors. I believe mine was tamarind almond.
I get the sense that reunions are not nearly as big of a deal at most other schools. But every spring at Duke, we would see these big white tents pop up one weekend in the spring. There would be the telltale old people walking around with a twinge of nostalgia and tales of their Duke, and we would always know– it was alumni weekend. Well, we were the old people coming back now.
My five-year reunion also coincided with Defining Movement’s 10-year anniversary showcase. DefMo is a multicultural dance group at Duke, and I became their avid groupie and photographer. Their anniversary also meant that former defMo members from all different years came back to Duke for the weekend too, so I got to see some friends who weren’t even my year at my reunion. I’ll be posting a separate blog of photos from defMo as well, but here’s a peek at them about to rehearse on the BC Walkway.
Part of the surreal feeling about being at Duke was just being overwhelmed by how incredibly pampered we were in college. We swiped a card to get food. We had a tight-knit community just down the hall. We lived in castles (the bottom left photo was my sophomore year dorm). Incredibly lucky and privileged.
These beautiful people were all part of Brownstone, our selective living house.
Some more brownies, with varying degrees of staleness.
We managed to crash the Class Party on Friday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium! Karthik, a friend from high school and college. He’s always off on crazy adventures saving the world.
Hysterics with Tzuo Hann, whom I just saw in Philly a while back!
Thanks to all my fellow Duke alums for making the weekend a fantastic one. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of such an amazing community. I am back this weekend to photograph Carla and Matt’s wedding at the Chapel… can’t wait! Much more to come.