Your First Year

Your First Year

Forever Duke Starts Here

On move-in day, a group of Orientation Leaders will help transport your belongings from your car to your dorm in the blink of an eye. Orientation has begun. You’ll be living with a random roommate in an East Campus residence hall filled with other first-years. Throughout the week, you’ll be forging friendships, touring campus, and exploring what Duke and Durham have to offer.

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The first year feels like a summer camp filled with wickedly intelligent 18 year-olds. There are bunk beds, too many ice cream socials, and friends who don’t yet know about your obsession with socks. But this camp doesn’t end after a few weeks.

Duke undergraduate student, Alice Dai, smiling
Alice Dai, 2020
First-year students walk up Chapel Drive during the Bricks to Stone parade.
  • Get to know your professors. Go to office hours, attend free lectures, or set up FLUNCH. Faculty will become some of your closest mentors on campus. 
  • Even if you know what you want to major in, explore courses that interest you. Use your liberal arts requirements to sample something new.  
  • Get to know your bus drivers. You’ll appreciate it when you find them transporting you safely between East and West each day. 
  • Find a study spot outside of your dorm (the nearby bed will just tempt you with naps).  
  • Take advantage of the vast network of advisors and mentors available to you. Academic advisors, faculty in residence, peer tutors, career counselors, directors of academic engagement, and more can help you work smarter not harder. Each first-year dorm even has a dedicated resource librarian.  
  • Pack a sleeping bag. Every Duke student should have one of these when basketball season rolls around. You may find yourself sleeping out in a tent for tickets! 
  • Get to know everyone on your hall. With QuadEx, you will travel to West Campus with the same group (plus one another dorm) that you live with Freshman year. Ask your neighbor to lunch, hang out in the common room, and go to dorm events to make the most of this community!
  • Keep track of your food points. Check the food point chart and take advantage of the delicious value meals at West Union.
  • Always keep your circle open. There are so many amazing new people to meet in your first-year, so even if you think you’ve found your best friends by week one, make sure to keep an open-mind and continue to branch out to new friends.

Contributors: Mackenzie DeLoatch, 2020; Emma Calhoun, 2020; Lily Kempczinski, 2025

students playing a pickup volleyball game on the East Campus grass
First-year students play in a volleyball pickup game on East Campus.