Traditions at Duke

After a long semester, I was ready to relax but I wasn’t quite prepared to say bye to many friends and my home-away-from-home for months. I was even less prepared to say “congrats” and “see you later” to my graduating friends. The cliché but beautiful A.A. Milne quote, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard,” kicked in, though, swapping my sadness for gratitude and leaving me incredibly nostalgic.

On the ride home, I swiped through all my pictures from the semester, reminiscing on many highs and lows, unforgettable memories, and one-of-a-kind experiences. Looking forward, though, I am excited to take part in so many traditions once more senior year.

Move-in Day

Move-in day is one of my favorite days of the year. As a first-year, watching the first-year advisory counselors (FAC), the students who do most of the moving, maintain excited spirits as they work so hard showed me how much people care about Duke and welcoming the new members of the community.

Now, as co-chair of the FAC program, having been involved in three move-in days, it remains just as special. I love watching family members look slightly more at ease when they see that they don’t have to do the heavy lifting. I love the excited and nervous looks on the first-years’ faces as they meet some of their new classmates. I love seeing President Brodhead and then President Price help carry boxes around and meet FACs and new families. All in all, move-in day is a beautiful display of Duke community, with so many corners of Duke coming together.

“Everytime We Touch” by Cascada

This song somehow became a Duke tradition, most notably at basketball games. This article by the Duke Chronicle details some of the background of how this tradition came to be. The song, though, now extends outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Whenever this song comes on at a Duke event, conversation stops and the signature singing, clapping, and dancing commences. I find it so sweet that so many Duke students can have fun with and bond over this song.

Last Day of Classes (LDOC)

Much more than just the last day we attend class, LDOC is a full-day festival of music, arts, relaxation and time with friends. Everyone celebrates their LDOC differently, but so many people wind up on the quad. On this day, you can walk around and see friends from your clubs, first-year dorm, social groups, classes, and those friends who you aren’t even sure how you met. Looking around the quad, everyone seems so happy and stress-free, spending time with friends. It is so fun seeing so much of Duke in one place, jointly celebrating that summer is nearing close.


Beyond these three broad, Duke events, we all wind up with our own little traditions. Whether that is playing guitar with friends after a long day or eating macaroni and cheese bites to celebrate successes, these little things help to make the Duke experience so special and unique.