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I’m writing this in the empty apartment room. Everyone left early this morning and here I am waiting to be picked up by our huge, white van for the last time. In this apartment, we cooked, discussed, and called it our home for the last 8 weeks. I learned how to cook chicken parm, play new card games, and dance some new dance moves. Obviously the place was far from being as comfortable as my real home, but we definitely made the place more comfortable; hung up some art work, made some mess here and there, and filled the place with laughter.


When I plan out for the summer—and I assume this for many others as well—, I mainly think of what I want to do academically and professionally. What are activities that can fulfill my intellectual curiosity or that can help me get a step closer to some of my life goals. It is so easy to disregard a crucial important aspect—living. I mainly imagined my summer in work and seldom thought about the life after work. Where will I be living, with whom, and what would I be doing after work.


In retrospect, life after work was one of the fundamental, if not the most significant, factor that impacted my summer. First, it was completely different from life after school. Life after school was mainly studying for the next few days and the relaxing with my friends. Life after work required cooking for the night, preparing for lunch for the next day, catching up some personal time, and obviously hanging out with the team. It wasn’t easy at first. Cooking everyday after a full day of work was definitely new. The clean up definitely took equal or more effort. Whenever we tried to do a big clean up of the apartment, I am always reminded of how grateful I should be of the house keeping support we take for granted at Duke.


I imagined DukeEngage as a journey to maturity—mainly emotional and intellectual maturity. A new aspect of maturity has been accomplished; I took a sneak peek of  the realistic adulthood.