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Column: Top 10 most troubling things I heard on my Duke tour

UNC graduate forward Leaky Black (1) focuses before an inbound, as Cameron Crazies reach in to distract Black during the men's basketball game against Duke on Feb. 4, 2023 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. UNC lost 63-57.

So we lose by six points. The feeling settles in the pit of your stomach as the final buzzer goes off. The houses are empty and the streets are spotted with aimless fans who didn't think our night would unfold like this — the bleaker of two realities. But the feeling subsides as the night wears on or we adapt. The next morning, we still wake up in Chapel Hill, and they wake up over there. 

In my unenlightened youth, I took a prospective student tour at Duke University. From the moment I stepped on campus, I knew it was the opposite of home. I could see myself hating the place for the next four years. The certainty of that intuition was magical. I hope everyone experiences a moment of utter clarity like the one offered to me on my Duke tour.

These are the 10 most unsettling things that a member of the Duke community said to or near me that have stuck with me all these four long years: 

10. “Flunch.” 

My tour guide pitched an exciting Duke opportunity — faculty lunch. You amble up to your condescending professor after class, mumble through an invitation to lunch and the two of you eventually eat on the university’s dime. I was excited to learn that Duke invented lunch and having a nice time. Only, I would have chosen a different portmanteau. Lunculty. Or, Facunch.

9. “This is my favorite spot to cry.” 

Of course, we’ve all told jokes that don’t land. But this was the only attempt at a joke that our guide made during the tour. 

It didn’t have the tone or wry smile of a joke either. “I’m serious," she added.

8. “I’m from New Jersey.” 

Then stay there!

7. “Our frats are notoriously clean.” 

Great! My biggest qualm with fraternities is just how cluttered they can get.

6. “I’ve never really been to Durham.” 

What with your clean frats and Flunches, there’s no reason to leave campus. Why would you? The guide assured us that, after a long day of classes, you just ride the bus to return to your dorm on campus. Nothing to see here.

5. “Our history department is the best in the area.” 

Granted, this might be true. Unleaded water, functioning elevators — the works. But it’s such a strange department to laud. No one studies history.

4. “You want to study history… have you considered political science?” 

No, I’ve never heard of it. Also, didn’t you just boast about your history department?

3. “Our esteemed alumni.” 

From Charlie Rose to Richard Nixon, one cannot deny the sheer moral fortitude of Duke graduates.

2. “First-years are allowed to keep their cars on campus.” 

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But do they provide housing for the chauffeurs? I was too nervous to ask.

1. “This is our indoor herb wall.”