To current Duke students.

<p>How was your first year experience?</p>

<p>I have so much advice for incoming freshmen I am just too overwhelmed to try to write it all out. Haha, my freshman year experience was OK at Duke, but the lessons I learned and the friends I made enabled me to have a fantastic sophomore year.</p>

<p>If I could give just one piece of advice it would probably be to be a Yes Man (/person). What I mean by this is derived from the movie, Yes Man, with Jim Carey wherein he goes on a program to say "yes" to every opportunity that comes to him. Your first year of college, just say "yes" to every opportunity that comes your way. Go to every lecture, every play, every concert, every sporting event, every social gathering, every class, every place on campus, meet every person, etc. One of the most critical parts of college is about finding yourself, and the best way to begin that process is by searching everywhere. Just say "yes" to opportunities, even if you think you're sure you won't like them. I'd even recommend actually watching the movie "Yes Man" before you go to Duke (or college in general). Buzz student calendar is also a great way to find out what's going on around campus.</p>

<p>Duke</a> Student Calendar</p>

<p>(if you go there now there aren't many things, but that's just because it's summer. during the semester here will be 10-20 things per day.)</p>

<p>I'll give one more piece of advice: don't look at courses as a burden. Your course schedule is one of your greatest opportunities to take advantage of at Duke. You should not take a single class at Duke that you are not at least a little bit excited about. People take prereqs to "get them out of the way" and try to fulfill graduation requirements with "easy As". A single class at Duke is probably around 1/34 of your classroom experience. You start "getting things out of the way" and realize that you won't have time to actually walk the path you've spent so much effort clearing. If you want to get easy As then go somewhere where As are easier to get. It's like you're trying to trick someone by going to a difficult school and then taking the easy classes to inflate your GPA. The only person you're fooling is yourself!</p>

<p>^ I disagree with the easy A's part of the post. </p>

<p>Being idealistic is one thing, but tempering that with practicality is another. It's important to know your limits and to have a bigger perspective. If you want to go to med school, a low GPA will sink your application. Don't blindly rush into things because they sound interesting. </p>

<p>That said, don't jealously guard your GPA and try to be a gunner in everything. Take some risks, learn some interesting things, take some courses that you like. Just be realistic about it. If you are taking a hard course, try moderating it with an easier course. Don't presume that easier courses = not interesting or not worth your time. </p>

<p>Overall, always keep your ultimate goals in sight and work hard toward achieving them but use moderation as a guiding principle and go easy on yourself once in a while. It is college after all.</p>

<p>although i am not in duke...I would have to disagree with hp b/c well you shouldn't have to attend to everything. Of course you should immerse yourself into duke culture to better understand the university but seeing that there are 10-20 things per day...you should choose your activities wisely. Don't goof off your first year just b/c some sophmore told you to do everything. Sure that makes you more experienced but will you really have the time to? What with classes and all...i would just focus on the studies part and party when time allows. If you are going to med school...definitely take classes that you know you can handle but will also be challenging. Like for example..I took an 1 AP science course this year instead of 2 b/c I knew I wouldn't have time for both, but I did know that although the ap science was hard I still had the time and ability to work hard and hope to get a good grade.</p>

<p>Hoppingbunny, I am eagerly awaiting my arrival to the Duke campus as an incoming freshman in late August. So while I can't necessarily speak to what p<em>hp</em>fan has said, I do think that p<em>hp</em>fan has brought up an interesting point. I don't think he was saying that you HAVE to do everything or neglect your academics to go to concerts, plays, etc, but rather that you should be open to trying new things around campus, even if they may not seem to be "your thing." Personally, there are a million things I want to try as soon as I get to campus and I am wondering how I am going to fit it all into my schedule, but I know that good time-management allowed me to get into Duke in the first place, as I'm sure it did for many of my peers and that I will not let my grades slip in order to try all of these exciting things.</p>

<p>collegehappy, that's right: the point is not to actually do everything but to have that as your goal and see where it takes you (for more on how this is supposed to work, just see the movie, haha, plus it's hilarious anyways). Where I would maybe correct a little of your verbage, though, is when you contrast "academics" with "concerts, plays, etc." One critical mistake a college student can make is thinking that their entire educational experience is going to happen in the classroom. Your courses at Duke are just one part of your academic engagement on campus and taking advantage of all the other resources is crucial as well. You shouldn't look at attending a lecture you're interested as detracting from your academics just because you're not taking a course in the subject: universities are designed to educate in a myriad of ways. Just because you're not studying for a test doesn't mean you're "goofing off" (hopping).</p>

<p>SBR, I actually also agree with a lot of what you have to say. I have problems with dichotomizing "practicality" and "idealism" most of all, but that's more philosophical and not relevant here, haha.</p>

<p>I agree that people shouldn't have complete disregard for their GPA. The fact of the matter is that it will be used to determine some of your other possibilities along the way. The problem I see is that people start to use taking easy As just because they're easy and not because they care about them. I did the same thing with graduation requirements my freshman year. I thought, even though I really don't want to take this class, I'll do it anyways because I need this kind of credit. The problem with that line of thinking, though, is that Duke offers SO MANY COURSES, that if you look hard enough, you'll probably be able to find something that is both practical AND interesting. That goes back to your point about not assuming easier courses are not interesting/worth your time, which I think is right on.</p>

<p>What we usually mean by an "easy" course is that it doesn't take up that much time. Of course you don't want to load yourself with courses that are going to lock you away in the library all day to have you fighting for a B. But where I think we agree is that 1) you shouldn't overcompensate and take ALL easy classes. Classes that take less time should be generally used to complement the courses you think are worth your extra effort and 2) you can usually find an "easy" class that you are interested in!</p>

<p>What I don't mean to say is: "never take a class that is considered easy". But I do mean to say: "never take class <em>only</em> because it is considered easy--in almost all cases, you can find something that both works with your schedule and that you think you'll enjoy and get something valuable out of".</p>

<p>I'm less supportive of your concluding paragraph, but I'll let that go for now, haha.</p>