Week 4 Updates: How We’re REALLY Doing

This evening, the DukeEngage students had a chance to reflect on the first half of the program; what it has brought, what we foresaw and did not foresee, what we feared that did (or did not) become a reality, and what we hope the next few weeks to look like. The students were all willing to share, but frankly, the conversation reflected quite accurately what the past month has consisted of: laughter, sighs, frustration, confusion, and a lot of fun. Here are a few excerpts from each of the students regarding the experience here in Portland in the last month:

IMG_3890 resize“I really prefer this type of lifestyle to the college-type of lifestyle; I like having a regular sleep schedule and somewhat regular eating habits.”

“The real world’s not so bad.”

“Cubicle life is not for me.”

“I can’t believe it’s half over… My site partner and I often worry that we’ll be 45 and unmarried, still in a cubicle.”

“I really like Portland. After San Francisco, I was a little disappointed at coming back, but I love our group hangouts, like brunch on Sunday. That was perfect.”

“I’ve really liked work; I don’t sit down for more than 2-3 hours a day. I couldn’t do a desk job.”

“I’m finding vegetarianism is also a lot easier here.”

“Race is a thing that we don’t want to discuss, but other people are discussing it for us, and frankly, I’m upset about it. Why do we have to talk about race as a defining characteristic?”IMG_3890 resize

“I have enjoyed the people I work with. My work has also given me a lot of time to think about who I am as a person and what I want.”

“My job has given me lots of freedom to be myself and to suggest things regarding our company plans.”

“I really like my internship a lot. I really like it here. It’s been going well.”

“Before, I really wanted to learn things from people and I think I’m definitely doing that.”

“My job is helping me figure out what I need to keep myself happy.”

“I’ve been really tired lately…it’s basically just the halfway-through-the-program feeling.”

“There are three things that I’m passionate about: sleeping, eating, and recycling. I can do all of those with my internship and in Portland.”

IMG_3891 crop resizeDespite our woes and mishaps, we have found the company of each other to be equal parts restorative and overwhelming. The cohesion in this group is unlike any I’ve seen before, with all of us doing most things together and most of us doing all things together. We’ve become good friends and better roommates. The last half of our journey here will surely be full of more pitfalls and mountaintops, but we’ll be certain to make the most of it.

4 thoughts on “Week 4 Updates: How We’re REALLY Doing

  1. Duke Engage is a great taste of real life after college, with the caveat that time flies by even faster when you’re doing it full time–the eight to ten week Duke Engage programs seem long until you’ve been working for several years. Enjoy your time and keep learning!
    -Jacob, (T’10).


  2. I do not think we have explored enough how DukeEngage might actually help us think about what makes us happy in the world. What an important thing to be thinking about at this age.


  3. Glad you all are enjoying your time there! My internship at Crag inspired me to go to law school and now I am almost done with my JD! So in my case, the internship showed me exactly what I wanted to do with my life. For those of you less happy in your placements, I think it is just as important to know what you DON’T want to do with your lives! Have fun in your last few weeks…explore all of the possibilities!


  4. Hi DukeEngage Portlanders! I am commenting as a 2011 Duke grad who participated in the inaugural class of DukeEngage Dublin. I’m enjoying following your posts, and I appreciate your honest assessments as you go through the program. I agree with Alix’s comment that learning what you don’t want to do is as important as what you do want to do. I have just finished divinity school and am about to start work as a hospital chaplain. While I in no way want to advocate a specific religious tradition or position, I am reminded of a practice within the Christian tradition that has been helpful for me: the daily examen, developed by Ignatius of Loyola in the 16th Century. It is a practice in which you review a day/week/experience with attention and intention. Notice when you felt most alive and energized, as well as when you felt drained or troubled. The answers to both of these questions will probably be revealing. Best wishes for the final stretch of your program!


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