Sitting on a Duke blue, pleather couch, wearing a UNC shirt amidst a crowd of strangers, I knew I had entered the belly of the beast — Duke University.
Mustering up the confidence to cross off #63 on UNC’s bucket list, I ventured to Durham wearing my personal favorite Carolina shirt that boasts, “Lehigh beat Duke.” Some might consider this a suicide mission, but I was excited to venture over to the dark side.
I boarded the Robertson Scholars bus at 11:30 a.m. As I sat in my seat, I began to read The Daily Tar Heel while trying to mentally psych myself up for my quest to a foreign land.
As the bus wove through the streets, it was engulfed by large trees and stone structures. Then it happened. The bus came to a halt as we arrived on Duke’s campus.
I stepped off the bus weary as to the reactions I would receive. I began to walk down the slate paths, passing vast numbers of students wearing royal blue attire. I had been transported to Hogwarts and was the outcast — I was a Weasley. Their eyes burned holes in my shirt and made me rethink my decision to be so bold. But then I realized people were also flashing smiles as I passed by, giggling at my bravery.
After 20 minutes of wandering aimlessly in search of Mason Plumlee, I gathered the courage to approach a guy and inquire as to where I could find food. He stared at me for a few seconds, shocked that I approached him in my attire, then kindly directed me to the Bryan University Center — Duke’s equivalent to our Student Union and Student Stores.
Approaching the doors, I could hear the bustling students inside. My heart was pounding as a group of fraternity guys pointed and whispered about me. As I walked in, I began searching for a place to eat and chose the Au Bon Pain Café Bakery, in the heart of the Duke student body.
I managed to figure out the ordering system, make small talk with a track athlete, and pay $8 for an overpriced chicken salad sandwich. Gaining stares as I searched for a deserted table, preferably in a corner where no one could see me, I gave up hope and wandered into the Duke student stores.
I immediately garnered reactions from a worker and law student, who jokingly chastised me for my shirt and advised me to a buy a new one. Unfortunately, I didn’t leave the store empty-handed. Instead, I walked out with a Duke notepad to write down my adventures.
Deciding to be even more audacious, I ventured to Krzyzewskiville. This was probably not my brightest idea. Rows of tents were lined up like sardines while dedicated Duke students huddled together for warmth. Their motivation? To attain UNC vs. Duke basketball tickets for the Feb. 13 game. I immediately realized my company was not welcome and retreated to safety.
Though I have been bred to hate Duke with a burning passion, I enjoyed my visit to Durham. Fair warning though — The Duke Chronicle does not feel good when it’s thrown at you. But I left our rivals with a sweet parting gift. I hope the Blue Devils enjoy reading the latest edition of The Daily Tar Heel I left behind.
_UNC Bucket List is a weekly feature highlighting the 100 things students should attempt before they graduate. Check out the full bucket list and all previous Bucket List posts here
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