I always find a way to have fun...when im not studying
Frats/Sports teams are the most popular organizations
Doors are open unless someone is studying/sleeping/hooking up
Athletic events are popular, so are speakers and theater
Dating scene is what you make of it, lots of hook-ups, but you can find people to date also
I met my closest friends from my freshman dorm or my frat
2 AM on a Tuesday - studying
People party a hell of a lot for a top ten school
Greek scene is too important
I partied pretty hard last weekend
If you stay in, watch a movie, hang out with friends
I think like any school this area of student life is really varied. Greek life is big like I said, a lot of people are into community service-type organizations, a lot of people work for the publications, a lot of people are FACs their sophomore years and later on the advisory board, student government is big, as are theater productions, etc. There are always lectures and shows and performances and concerts and musicals and all of that good stuff to do.
The campus is absolutely gorgeous and the weather is great. It has a small-school feel, wherein faculty care about the students and they are very approachable. Basketball is awesome and really unites the student body with a sense of pride.
There are so many extracurricular activities offered here that I can't even begin to touch on everything. A significant percentage of Dukies are involved in the Greek system, but only frats live together. Because of this, sororities are pretty relaxed. We have sorority events a few times a week and love hanging out with my sisters as much as possible, but I am still very close to my friends from the dorm and other activities. There is no distinct divide between Greeks and Non-Greeks here as far as I can tell, and it's a personal choice how involved you want to become with you sorority.
A lot of the party scene here is centered around the frats, which have sections of the dorm devoted to their use. It's generally not an exclusive scene: if you want to go to a party, you certainly can find one. A typical Friday night involves coming back from dinner, finishing up a bit of homework, and then beginning to get ready. Girls are running up and down the halls, asking for advice on what pair of shoes to wear or borrowing a top from a friend. When everyone is ready, people start to pre-game in the dorms, getting ready for a night out. A few hours later, a big group will take the bus over to West campus and go to a section party or maybe a smaller apartment party. These parties are always a great time and can last until the wee hours of the morning when people stumble back to their dorm rooms and sleep until the next afternoon.
K-ville is the most popular activity on campus, and about 1000 students camp out for 2 months in order to get tix to the Duke-Carolina game at Cameron Indoor. Athletics and academics meet at Duke like no other place. We mix going to and participating in sporting events, studying for tests, doing homework, and going out with friends, and we seem to do an amazing job at balancing our many activities and time committments. Thursday-Saturday are party nights, and the Greek scene encompasses about 40 percent of the student body. Last weekend, I played three club baseball games against the University of Maryland, went to the men's lacrosse game against Maryland, went to one of the varsity baseball games against Columbia, and worked on three formal chemistry lab reports. Just another weekend at Duke.
What dating scene?
No one dates. Everyone hooks up. In the right circles, going out is the be all end all of life. Tuesday, Thrusday, and Staurday cannot be missed. Friday is usually fun but still secondary to Thursday. Sunday Funday is a great recovery of relaxation among friends, as long as you're not friends with a bunch of people who spend it in the library (a ton do).
The pressure of a week in the classroom or the library gives way to a weekend atmosphere of relief, but rather than relax, everyone flips the switch over to party mode and the intensity hardly abates. Duke students eat, sleep and breath the "work hard, play hard" mentality, by which stress becomes a justification to party in rather excessive measure. The social scene revolves most visibly around greek life, as fraternities throw parties at off-campus bars up to five nights a week. The open parties are typically attended by the same core of greek-affiliated students or the independents who are their friends. It's a huge plus that sororities are completely non-residential, which means groups of friends and roommates often encompass people from all walks of greek and independent life, and those who choose not to pledge can— and do— attend greek-sponsored events.
There is not much to do in Durham itself, but students who choose not to participate in the party culture have on hand the university's offerings of movies, plays, musicals, and concerts. Recently, the administration and several student organizations have made an impressive effort to come up with more creative and universally appealing social events— such as swanky cocktail and DJ parties at the library or art museum— with the goal of shifting the "play hard" to "play well." There are also a number of diverse selective living groups that provide a non-greek alternative for social membership and that occasionally throw dry parties.
In January, the most dedicated of basketball fans spent months sleeping outside in K-Ville to gain entry to the biggest games, and the tent city becomes another alternative outlet that fills up before tip-off with inebriated Cameron Crazies. K-Ville appeals mainly to freshman who don't yet realize that sleeping outside will dictate your life and ruin your grades, but it is part of a "freshman experience" that Duke holds dear: All freshmen live together on a separate campus with its own library, dining hall and gym, and first semester social life revolves around "section parties" that frats throw in their dorm rooms. As a result, each class is assumed to bond tightly before being disseminated into the various lives they will lead at Duke.
Several traditional cornerstones of the social calendar are celebrated by the entire campus: Oktober Fest, Old Duke day, and the infamous Last Day of Classes restore a skeptical student body's faith in their administration. LDOC marks the end of the year, and the entire campus turns out for a big-name headliner and an all-day, anything- goes party on the quad. The circulated guidelines typically read as follows: "students must have their own alcohol with them at all times." Other festivals feature international food, charity fundraising and beer on points. Perhaps the most anticipated season of the year is Tailgate, a thrilling culmination of Duke debauchery that often begins at 9 a.m., fueled by vodka shots and dean-dispensed hot dogs, and ends with everyone forgetting about the football game and struggling home in the remnants of their beer-soaked costumes.
Ultimately, the social scene is most often defined in terms of raucous parties, heavy drinking and a widely- accepted "hook-up culture," because these are the elements that best lend themselves to negative attention. The school's interest in intellectual stimulation and healthy socializing together provide innumerable alternatives that enrich student life. But the dionysian revelry is undeniably fun, and all the novelty and excess and stimulation of the place— regardless of what your interests are— create a bona fide collegiate Disneyland.
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