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On Graduating & “Mermaid Jane”

My friend Sarah wrote me a beautiful song upon my arrival at Duke four years ago. It’s IMG_5823called “Mermaid Jane.” It’s about a girl with green eyes who always takes her tequila with a lime. She’s a Georgia Peach, and she’s a North Carolina kind of sweet. The song alludes to some of her favorite books, and wishes her luck in her new beginnings, under a late, late, late, late August sky.  It’s May 11, 2017. I moved into Bell Tower Dorm on August 20, 2013– hence, the late, late, late, late August sky.

I’m ready to graduate, and here’s why:

First, I’ve finally stopped piling all of my clothing atop one chair and calling it clean. (I’ve switched to shoving it all under the bed.) Second, I’ve properly refilled my prescriptions for the past 16 months. Third, I now know how to bake better than I claimed to know in my college admissions essay. Fourth, although I let the gas tank get dangerously close to empty, I’m aware of this now, which is a good first step. Fifth, my phone is usually charged. Sixth, I use eye cream to prevent wrinkling and always wear sunscreen to prevent sun damage.

I’m not ready to graduate, and here’s why:

I’ve loved it here. Even when it was hard. Even when I called my mom and said, ‘this is the worst!’ I really did love it. The hours spent studying in the library– by myself, the way I prefer it, or, more recently, with my sister. On the first floor of Perkins, I read Frost and Shakespeare and Sherman Alexie. I wrote essays and stories. I reluctantly learned basic coding.

IMG_1603I’ve loved my roommate screaming ‘Aaaaaverrrrryyyy!’ — Sometimes with love, because I’m awesome. Sometimes with anger, because I never wash peanut butter off plates before chucking them in the dishwasher. Sometimes with sadness. Sometimes with stress. Sometimes with glee. I’m going to miss napping with her for hours, a favorite, shared activity.

I’ve loved the 50+ orders of Cook Out hushpuppies I’ve secretly Ubered for. The 100+ pints of ice cream I’ve eaten with my best friends. The 200+ spicy tuna rolls I’ve inhaled at Sushi Love. The party punch that knocks you out like no professional boxer ever could.

I’ve loved walking the Washington Duke Trail, and cheering on the Durham Striders (a youth cross country team). I know they appreciate it, even if they don’t show it. It always makes me so proud to see kids run farther and faster than I’ll ever willingly go.


A remarkably unattractive space.

I’ve loved the BC basement, the fact that it houses one of my favorite offices and consistently smells like soup. It’s such an unattractive, 70’s building, and I love that about it.

I’ve loved falling in love, being in love and making it work.

IMG_2934I’ve loved talking about politics, race, sex and class issues with people that give a shit. I’ve generally just loved talking– on the Chapel Steps, in my apartment(s), at the WU.

I’ve loved being forced to dance on stages, booths and tables, and being okay with it because I never have to do it alone. (Usually to songs like:” Timber” (2013), “Cheerleader” (2014), “Sorry” (2015), and “Closer” (2016).)

I’ve loved the bright green trees in Spring, the Hail Mary campus-wide reactions to snow, the feeling I get when everyone sings along together, female friendships, male friendships, friendships that I’m not part of, but enjoy nonetheless. The hole in the Compound bathroom. I don’t know. It resonated with me.

Most importantly, I’ve loved going to school with my best friend, HaleyIMG_2939 Carmichael. Refusing to touch that topic any further, because still in complete denial…

I’ve loved Duke. It’s over, but it’s not. It will always be, and I’m so grateful for what it is to me and my friends. Dear Old Duke, I sure do love you. Peace out, Mermaid Jane. Sorry, that’s my psychic.

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