8 Essentials Every Duke Student Needs

Duke Students
4 min readMay 3, 2023

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By Hariel Peters

In light of college-acceptance season, let’s highlight some of the most important things that are crucial for survival as a Duke student. I have asked students from all classes ranging from freshman to graduate students about essential things to have here at Duke. Here are 8 of the most popular items:

  1. A Tent
Tents in KVille

As you may know, “Cameron Crazies” is the nickname given to the student section of our basketball team. The Cameron Crazies are known for their passionate and energetic support of the team during and leading up to games. Through a process known as “tenting,” groups of students must live in a tent outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium for 3–8 weeks leading up to the big UNC rivalry game, braving the elements and participating in various activities to pass the time. Tenting has become a beloved tradition at Duke, so make sure you or a close friend have one by the time the second semester rolls around!

2. Winter and Summer Clothes

Ah, North Carolina…home of the most beautiful weather…right? WRONG. While there are days where the sun is shining, and everyone has their sundresses out, the dry and windy weather of Durham sneaks up on you. North Carolina has probably the most bipolar weather I have ever seen. So just because it’s April, don’t send your winter clothes home quite yet — we could be in for some snow!

3. Duke Merch (more than you think)

If you’re an incoming freshman that got accepted into many other colleges and want to show off the merch for it — don’t! Duke pride is essential to being a student here. Whether you’re strolling down BC plaza, or waiting for your flight at RDU, it’s crucial to wear Duke merch (especially since most North Carolina natives back the other blue).

4. A Solid Playlist

Wearing your headphones, listening to music while taking a hike from East to West Campus is an out-of-world experience. Like seriously, just blast your favorite music and pretend you’re in a music video. I guarantee that your serotonin levels will increase exponentially. Speaking of a solid playlist, have you checked out the @DukeStudents Spotify Playlists? There are so many for all kinds of scenarios that students experience at Duke!

5. Sidechat

If you thought I meant YikYak — I didn’t. Sidechat is an app where students share anonymous thoughts and express their feelings without feeling judgements of any kind. If you ever need a study break or a good laugh, I highly recommend scrolling through Sidechat for a couple minutes.

6. An Umbrella

I’m not sure why there is a stigma attached to using an umbrella around campus, but as I said before, North Carolina has extremely unpredictable weather! Don’t be afraid to pull out your umbrella when it randomly starts raining in Durham. When you find yourself walking outside quite as often as most college students do, it would be helpful to not be drenched everywhere you go.

7. Willingness to Wait in Lines

The number of things to do on campus is wild. Go try the amazing food in WU or attend a game in our amazing stadiums. Although we have a small student population, that doesn’t mean the demand for the different events is small. Take tenting for example. You’re waiting in line for weeks to attend a basketball game (it is very worth it though). Sometimes after a night out, all you want is an omelet from Marketplace. Trust me, it is worth the 20-minute wait in line.

8. Work Hard Play Hard Mentality

We all know that Duke is an academically challenging institution — that will never change. But is Duke becoming a party school? Does that mean our average GPA will decrease? Absolutely not. With parties, basketball games, and so many fun things to do around Duke, students have found themselves just putting the extra effort to complete their work or study hard to make the most of college life. It is important to balance work with play, and to make time for socializing, hobbies, and other enjoyable activities. This can help to reduce stress, improve overall well-being, and increase motivation and productivity as a student at Duke.

Hariel is a freshman studying neuroscience and a first year @DukeStudents intern. She was born and raised in North Carolina, and enjoys exploring surrounding towns of Durham. She is on the cheer team at Duke and enjoys watching horror movies, going on walks, getting dinner with friends, and finding new study spots all over campus.

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