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My Visit to the Campus Farm

With the arrival of the beautiful, spring weather here in Durham, a group of friends and I decided to spend an afternoon on the Duke Campus Farm.


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The Duke Campus Farm is a one-acre fruit and vegetable operation dedicated to serving the Duke community with fresh, healthy, and sustainable produce. Since DCF was founded in fall 2010 it has blossomed into a fully functional farm that also educates students and members of the community about all things related to growing food! One of my favorite things about the farm was seeing all of the independent projects that have been developed by students and/or faculty.



Feeling accomplished after an afternoon of working on the farm.

Feeling accomplished after an afternoon of working on the farm.

My team getting to know each other.

Global Health with the Bald Guru and More!


Where do funky hats, videos, team projects, and pizza night come together?

This semester I am taking a class called Fundamentals of Global Health with Professor David Boyd (aka “the Bald Guru). It has been a fascinating class that combines thought provoking lectures, compiled case studies, team challenges, and hands on activities to apply what we learn inside the classroom to real work global health situations.

To continue the conversation outside of the classroom, we have the opportunity to post, comment, and collaborate on global health news and issues on our class blog. I have learned not just from Dr. Boyd, but from all my peers. Despite the relatively early class time (for college students at least), every time I step into class, I immediately feel the excitement and interest fill the room.  We are all eager to learn more from Dr. Boyd and put our knowledge to the test through our team challenges and activities.  And what happens when our awesome professor goes to Bolivia to work on his global health research and can’t physically be in class? He lectures in Bolivia through Skype!

My team getting to know each other.

My team getting to know each other.


In addition to many other global health classes offered through the Duke Global Health Institute, I have taken advantage of some of the programs and initiatives that the Institute offers for undergraduates who want to pursue their interests and passion in health around the world.   I love attending the monthly Breakfast Club with DGHI or visiting faculty discussing their research and work, and the Journal Club that brings together students from all schools and areas of study to talk about articles relating to global health topics.

Did I mention all the Bass Connections in Global Health that give students an opportunity to work in teams on a project in our community or aboard? Or how about the Student Research Training Program, which trains undergraduates to develop and implement a community-based project around the world? Even as a freshman, I have been able to get involved in projects, talk to professors one-on-one, and attend several speakers and events all offered through the Global Health Institute. The opportunities and experiences are endless!

If you are like me and are interested in pursing a career in Global Health, then Duke will certainly provide you with the chance to explore your interests and discover interests you never knew you had.


Studying at JVG

My Favorite Places to Study on Campus

There’s a lot of studying going on here at Duke University. Fortunately for us all, there are a ton of wonderful places we can all go to, to do a bit of reading, home working, essay-writing or people watching. I’ve been meaning to dedicate an entire blog post on “My Favorite Places to Study on Campus,” so I’m very excited that I finally get to share it. I’m going to start off with the cafés on campus. If you know me, you know I have a special place in my heart for cafés, and so I find myself naturally gravitating to them.

First on the list is the Perk, also known as Von der Heyden or “Vondy” for short. It is in the Perk that I write this blog. The Perk is a café that sits in the center of our beautiful Perkins library, and is architecturally inspired by our very own Duke Chapel. Glass walls frame the building and allow our mostly sunny sky to penetrate and illuminate the studying students inside. At around 11:20 am and 2:40 pm, students from all around campus swarm into this spacious coffee shop to study or socialize, hang out for a few minutes, or grab a french or italian soda, before they move on to their next class or activity for the day.

The Perk, a.k.a. "Vondy"

In the early mornings of other days, I prefer to go to Joe Van Gogh, where the setting is much smaller, perhaps claustrophobic for some, but actually really cozy in my opinion. The people there are great and artistic, and they make beautiful cups of coffee with decorated milky hearts and caramel swirls. There are only four tables in JVG however, and all of them are occupied by 9am. But because the student-crowd moves in and out constantly, I always find myself finding a free seat, or sharing a table with someone else. And when I do, I make sure I get one of their wonderful sugary mini chocolate donuts which are delicious and simply to die for. In terms of studying, I find myself most inspired when working in JVG.

I realize that the last few paragraphs have diverted towards “eating” on campus rather than “studying” on campus. So I will now come back to the serious studying that happens here. As I stated earlier, a lot of people do a lot of studying. So where do they all go?

The most obvious destination is our stunning gothic library. Perkins library, ranked as one of the most beautiful libraries in the country, is also highly accommodating to all kinds of students with all kinds of studying habits. There are rooms packed with books from floor to ceiling, with leather arm chairs and foot rests; there are long Hogwarts-like hallways with long wooden tables and low hanging lamps swaying from the arched ceilings; and there are also much more relaxed settings like the Perk where students can study on comfortable sofas, as well as eat and socialize, and eat some more. If students don’t go to the library, they have the option of studying in study rooms of their dorms, in the gazebos on the Bryan Center Plaza, in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, or even at the gym.

As I’ve pointed out, there are a ton of options. And I am always thrilled to find new places to study on campus. What fascinates me the most about the “study culture” of this university however, is not so much the ‘study spots,’ but more so  the inclusive nature of the students I have come across these past few years at Duke. What I’ve tried to point out in these last few paragraphs is that the studying that goes on at this university is a very ‘shared’ experience. It’s a very collective one where people are more than happy to study with you and learn about that essay you’re writing or that book you’re so fascinated by. This sharing of knowledge, of teaching, and learning together amongst students is honestly my favorite part about the university.


My Semester at the School Down the Road

Every spring, a collection of students arrive on Duke’s  and UNC Chapel Hill’s campuses who weren’t there the previous semester. Most of them are easily recognizable as students returning from studying abroad, but there are always a few who don’t look as familiar. They might initially identify themselves as transfer students, but with a little prying, you can usually coax it out of them – they’re Robertson Scholars on their campus switch, and this semester, I’m one of them.

The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program is a full merit scholarship program offered at both Duke and the UNC. The program “invests in young leaders who strive to make transformational contributions to society” through programming throughout the college career – leadership and professional development opportunities, three summer experiences, and more. Scholars are also “dual-citizens,” with full access to both universities. You can see all of the components of the program on this timeline.


In front of the Old Well at UNC

This semester, I’m participating in the part of the program called the campus switch. During the second semester of their sophomore year, Robertson scholars from the two institutions literally switch places. Since returning from winter break, I have been living, taking classes, and immersing myself in student life at UNC, and though I’ll always be a blue devil at heart, it’s been a really positive experience so far!

There’s much more I could say about this unusual part of my Duke journey, but I’ll leave it there for now. Though my address has changed for the time being, nothing could keep me away from blogging this semester, so leave any questions in the comments below or tweet them to me at @nadinebgoldberg, and I’ll try to answer as many as possible in upcoming posts. I can’t wait to continue sharing my campus switch experience with you!


Snapshots of Krzyzewskiville 2014

Soon, the Blue Devils will take on the Tar Heels in Cameron Indoor Stadium for the next installment of a storied rivalry. Actually, considering the fact that the game is over a month away from now, “soon” may not be the right word. No matter. We Crazies still like to show our dedication, loyalty, and spirit by tenting out for weeks before the big rivalry game. This year’s tenting season started on January 19th and lasts until the game on March 8th.

Some call us crazy for braving the turbulent winds, torrential rains, cramped tents, and mid-night attendance checks.

We don’t deny it.

Here are some pictures from my brief time in K-ville:


The first tents and/or tipis get prime real estate.


Snow cannot deter the Cameron Crazies.
(Unless it’s below 25 degrees, then we get grace.)


Studying orgo in the tent.
School first.


Tent-outfit color coordination.

Learn more about tenting at Duke by clicking here.





Pegram Performers

Life in Pegram: Living in the Performing Arts Community

You would think that it would be lucky to find a few people that live in a dorm of 130 people that you can hang out, go to dinner, and study with, right? You are bound to have issues with somebody, surely. That many people can’t possibly all get along…

I say false.

What if I told you that the majority of those 130 people would all be interested in the same things that you are? What if I said that they would all rally together to support you in what you do both inside and outside of the classroom? What if I said you would find yourself saying things like, “I’ll be home in a minute” when you’re telling someone that you are walking back from class, and realize that you genuinely feel like you are at home when you’re in your dorm?

These things are all true of my freshman dorm experience. I live in Pegram–the freshman Performing Arts dorm, and there is no way that I could possibly love it more!

One of the coolest benefits of living here is that Duke brings in a private concert series of amazing artists to our common room. Yes, really! Every couple of weeks, I get to walk downstairs in my pajamas and be a part of presentations from award winning vocalists, musicians, and performers. How cool is that?!

I also always know about all of the performances that are happening on campus. Why? Because someone who lives down the hall is always in them! Just in the last month, I have been to a musical, 4 a cappella shows, a symphony concert, and an improv comedy show, and I had friends in every single one.


Pegram Peeps ushering for The Drowsy Chaperone and supporting our dorm mate who is in the production!

Pegram Peeps ushering for The Drowsy Chaperone and supporting our dorm mate who is in the production!


Being surrounded by so much talent is moving on a daily basis. Someone is always playing the piano in the common room, with a couple of guitarists joining in, and twelve people all singing along, creating beautiful harmonies off-the-cuff. I’ve also heard tell of 3rd floor jam sessions where everyone sings different songs with the same chord progressions all at the same time so they all go together in fantastically unexpected ways. Who even thinks of that kind of craziness?

The answer: Pegramites. The most talented, diverse, interesting group of people I have ever met.

I can’t imagine my freshman experience without this amazing bunch of people, and I am so lucky that I get to call this place my home every day.

A group of us from our FOCUS cluster being silly before class!

FOCUSing on my Experience

……And that’s a wrap!

As my first semester of college comes to an end, I reflect on my time thus far at Duke. From adjusting to a new sleeping schedule and classes to exploring Durham and building new friendships, it has been a semester full of new and exciting experiences.  However, there is one thing that stands out as the keystone to my first semester at Duke: The FOCUS Program.

In fact, FOCUS was one of the programs that initially drew me to Duke. Many colleges offer freshman seminars, but FOCUS is unique to the freshman experience at Duke. It offers students the ability to explore a topic of interest in an inter-disciplinary way, while simultaneously creating a living and learning community. From the moment I stepped on campus, I had a built in support system of about 30 other freshman who were part of my Ethics, Leadership, and Global Citizenship FOCUS cluster. In addition to the weekly seminar dinners that consisted of guest speakers or discussions, I opted to take a class on refugee policy and a philosophy class that focused on the foundations of ethical decision-making and identity politics.

Although there are many highlights from my FOCUS that I could share, one that stands out was our field trip to Saxapahaw, North Carolina. In addition to a delicious dinner of fresh and local ingredients, it was a great chance to explore the intersection of local, national, and global trends in action. It was yet another opportunity to see how all of the topics we had discussed in class are inter-related in one way or another, especially in regards to how we view the world and our role in the world.

The conversations that resulted from the combination of these two classes extended past the borders of the classroom. From the dinner seminars, the dorm hallways, or on the way to class, the opportunity to share, collaborate, and debate about the issues-and the overlap between those issues-was a unique learning experience.  It provided me with a community in which I can discuss issues that I am passionate about and an ethical lens in which to analyze them going forward.  While I am sad that FOCUS is over, I am looking forward to the continued conversations that will surely take place among the members of my cluster in our dorm next semester!


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Hello?  Hi!  Duke!  Wait, it’s so good to hear from you!  It’s been like a million years.  Yeah.  No, like, not literally.  Haha, I mean, you weren’t even a thing.  Like a million years ago—sorry, I’m just so nervous, I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.


No, I promise I’m happy!  My semester abroad has been incredible.  My studies, my job experience, my new friends, new culture – it’s been surreal.  But, to be honest, I’m under the weather.  I came down with something so hard that I am now only eligible for the UNaffordable Care Act.  I’m suffering from a bad, bad case of clinical…



I’m honestly surprised how much Duke sickness has hit me.  Don’t get me wrong, you’re the best – top tier academics, blazing school spirit – but you’re supposed to just be my school.  Going abroad for a semester is not a big deal.  I’ll be back soon.  And I’m not a baby.


But that’s the thing – you’re more than just my school.  You are a real part of my identity.  I seriously underestimated how amazing you are and how much you were going to become part of me.

Looking back, I should’ve foreseen this.  There is no one in the world like you.  You push me so far off my academic limits that I feel like a useless noob but yet a total genius at the same time.  I’m a walking adrenaline rush between insane basketball games and main stage performances.  I am surrounded by students obsessed soul, body and mind with Duke and the energy is fearless.  So much so, that I am on the other side of the world, immersed in rich new cultures and life-changing experiences, and yet I find myself constantly day dreaming about the day I return to you!


DUKE I JUST, I JUST LOVE YOU.  OKAY?  I just want to be with you again.

I just want to sleep in a tent for 2 months to get into the UNC game and stay up all night whining like a baby in Perkins.  All I want is late-night pancakes from Pitchfork and to wait 20 freakin-minutes for a salad from ABP.    To go to Jazz night at the Mary Lou, to take one more cliché Instagram pic of the glorious Duke chapel because even though it gets so old it really doesn’t.  Just one more time I want to miss the C-1 by 5 seconds and curse the public transportation Gods for this cruel, damned fate!


No, I’m not exaggerating!  I don’t do that hyperbole game.  Duke, you will be with me for the rest of my life because there is no one that can do what you do.  I am so proud to be a Blue Devil and I thank God everyday.


I don’t want to keep you, Duke, I know you’re busy being world-class academic institution, but this call made my day.  Love you and we’ll talk soon 🙂


No, you hang up first! …No you!  …NO, you hang up! … …Stop it, YOU! …Ah, you first!  …No STOP now, you!–OK, ok, ok! Ok!

I’ll hang up first, I’ll hang up first!  Goodbye, I love you!


No, I love YOU more!  No me!  Stop it – no I do!  No I love you MORE!  NO ME.  DUKE!


Hello?  Duke?  You there?






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Duke Performances: Like a Kid in a Candy Store

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – there’s little I love more than the thriving arts culture on Duke’s campus. I doubt I’ll ever stop feeling like a kid in a candy store when it comes to picking performances to attend.

Two weeks ago, Duke Performances hosted a performance of “Specific Oceans” by People Get Ready in Reynolds Theater, which is conveniently located in the student center. After grabbing dinner just a few feet away, a friend and I filed into our seats in the theater for what would be an unforgettable experience.

Just as the posters had promised, “Specific Oceans” melded performance art, dance, and live rock, and the performers moved and created music in ways that I could never have imagined (check out a preview of their show in the video below). It was the kind of show that made me wonder how anyone could be going about their business in  the Bryan Center, oblivious to the magic happening behind the doors of Reynolds Theater. The show was worth every penny of my five-dollar student ticket, and reminded me of how thankful I am to attend a university that gives its students such abundant opportunities to appreciate the arts.