Time is one of those things that people don’t really talk about. I mean sure, Duke students are constantly talking about the impressive things they spend their time doing, or how little free time they have, but nobody stops to talk about how time is pretty much the worst thing around.
No matter where you are or what you’re doing, there never seems to be enough time. Whether you’re an LSGM client with three days to pay late rent or fifteen days to uproot your entire life, or a Duke student with two days to write a final paper or two months to find a job for the summer, time is always in short supply.
Being so removed from my normal routines and surroundings, I’m feeling the overwhelming presence of time more than ever. Ever since I went to sleepaway camp after 2nd grade, homesickness has never been an issue for me, but these days I’m finding myself missing the contact I normally have with my friends. You see, relationships take time. Not just that they grow and get stronger with more time together, but they also actively decay if you don’t put in the effort to stay close across great distance.
It’s true that there are some friends who you might not see for over a year, and your friendship just picks up right where you left off once you are back together, but these are the exception to the rule. I told myself coming into this summer that I would make a greater effort to reach out to the people I care about, especially since I’ll be away from Duke in the Fall semester. The fact that I haven’t been able to keep that up is probably the single thing that has been weighing on me the most while here. There’s no real reason for me to tell you all this, except maybe to commit myself to renewing my efforts in the six or so weeks left in my summer before I leave for Copenhagen.
We’re already five weeks into our program here in Miami, and I’m struck by how quickly things are moving. Beyond the halfway point, I’m plagued with questions about what I’ve accomplished here: Am I making a difference? Have I left my mark? Have I learned anything useful? What more could I be doing? How does this experience fit into my plan?
The days start to blend together and the questions continue to go unanswered. The experience I have gained in the legal field has been absolutely invaluable for setting myself up to enter the legal world going forward, but I find myself increasingly focused on thinking about my future. Last week in reflection, we talked about the competitive job culture at Duke, and it really just reminded me that I need to keep looking forward, to focus on my long-term goals.
As we enter July, I find myself already thinking about plans for next summer, and even into my senior year. Time is running out on my DukeEngage trip, and I’m already feeling overwhelmed by the sense that time is running out on my entire Duke career.
This post probably seems pretty cynical, but I suppose I prefer to think of it as pragmatic. Our culture is built around planning for the future and constantly trying to be on time, and I really just think it’s important that people talk and think about that. Everyone is really struggling with the same things, but we can only help each other by being vulnerable and being willing to talk, because time waits for no man (yep, I had to go there).
The universe always tends towards entropy–in time, everything falls apart.