Entering my first year here at Duke, I soon realized that being a Blue Devil was accompanied by more than just learning from Nobel Laureates and winning NCAA  championships. After all, the expectations here at our Top-8 University are enormous, and they allow for little variation. At a prestigious university like Duke, it seems that no student can avoid the myth of effortless production.

My life at Duke is unbearably stressful. Between constant op-ed’s, Facebook profile picture changes, and explanations of how each of my publications is the “authentic voice on campus,” it’s exhausting keeping it all together. Here in Durham, I’m not just expected to focus on school and try to new experiences; I’m expected to introduce new branches of distinct media on campus. I’m expected not to reinvent the wheel, but to rebrand it. I’m expected to be the Marketing Rep for one pop-up publication on campus, and Featured Strategist for another. As a Duke student, it’s my job to recognize The Chronicle’s mediocre performance and then do a half-assed job correcting it.

In total, I act as Legal Director, Satirical Strategist, Social Media Managing Officer, Alternate Social Commentator, Chic Politico-Economic Analyst, etc. for over 12 (13) publications on campus. Needless to say, the commitments are exhausting. But what else am I to do?

Without me, the true, unadulterated, authentic voice of Duke wouldn’t be able to speak out. Without me, national media organizations would be left to fill their websites with only content from George Mason University, Georgetown, Yale, NYU, Claremont McKenna, University of Virginia, Northwestern, South Indigo Sorority State College, or wherever else you can imagine.

The Odyssey ©, The Standard, The Tab ©, The Rival ©?

How about The Exhaustion?

As the Campus Market Brand Ambassador/Editorialist for a new funk-indie social commentary newspaper on campus, I had to interview one of the most intimidating upperclasswomen in my sorority. I didn’t even know her that well. This is how the myth of effortless production manifests itself in everyday life. Why should I jump through hoops to pursue an empty void of achievement that I don’t even believe in? Plus, I missed chapter because of it.

That’s why I find it so, so important to tell you one thing, Duke: You. Are. Enough.  You are enough without having to introduce new publications on campus. You are enough without assigning aggrandizing titles for every member of every new media start-up on campus. You are enough without deciding that today’s the day you’ll individually solve every problem facing every college campus. Simply put, you are enough. Believe it or not, you are enough with the same profile picture as before. And I mean that.

The only way to solve the Myth of Effortless Production? Talking about it, opening our eyes, and writing public diary entries concerning it. Most importantly, we can spread this article across campus– maybe even across the nation– by pressuring our friends into sharing it. So be sure to like, subscribe, and comment! And come to my workshop, “SURVIVING The MYTH of Effortless Production,” Wednesday night @ 8:00 in McLendon 2. Free Enzo’s!


Scarlett McGibbons is a 7th Year Trinity Senior. Her column runs bi-daily.

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