DURHAM, N.C.—Freshman year offers a vast array of new experiences to wide-eyed youngsters, eager to spread their wings and soar into the great big world. But take a few too many steps off the East Campus sanctuary and that great big world can become quite scary. For Jed Cleary (T’27), hailing all the way from Westchester, N.Y., the transition to North Carolina has certainly been an adjustment.
“Yeah, I think there’s a lot of crime around and stuff,” Jed explained. “That’s what my mom said, and when you walk around, there’s a lot of people that, um, that look like…it’s just really different from Westchester, I guess.”
This morning, Jed made the trek across the street in search of some delicious Bark Thins from Whole Foods, a move reminiscent of our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors. Jed had heard tales of this oasis of treats in the badlands of Durham, and despite his anxiety about leaving the safety of his elite PWI, this baby bird has chosen to leap from his nest.
“It was daunting for sure. There were moments when I wanted nothing more than to just teleport back to my dorm room with a keycard lock. Like when that homeless man started chasing me,” recalled Jed. Fluke analysts reviewed video footage posted to Jed’s Snapchat story and have determined that the man in question was walking to Whole Foods to use their restroom.
Nevertheless, a barrier was broken for Jed today. Too often, Duke’s freshmen cheat themselves out of worldly experiences by remaining within the bounds of East Campus’s stone half-walls– and occasionally a sufficiently isolated frat party field. Jed has clearly welcomed the Durham community into his heart, sparking what one can only hope will be a beautiful relationship filled with community service and mutual aid.
“Hero? Haha, I don’t know if I’d call myself a hero. Adventurer, maybe. Or pioneer. Or I guess hero, if you really think so,” Jed laughed. Untold courage and unmatched humility! Duke has much to learn from Jed.