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Amber Skinner

Hey! I'm a member of the Class of 2023, and I am a huge environmental science nerd. I love soccer and all forms of music (I recently just spent an hour with my partner listening to classical music in the car and driving around Durham- again, let me emphasize my nerdiness), and my favorite animal is a cat, although I'm deathly allergic to them. I'm from Clemmons, NC (near Wake Forest University), where I lived with my parents, brother and sister.

L's Taken


"Thank you for applying but..."

  • I didn't get into UVA. 

  • I was rejected from... 12? 13? of the 14 or 15 internships I applied to this year. Most of them didn't even bother to reach out again after I sent in the application. 

  • I was rejected by the Robertson scholarship in the first round not once, but twice- and it hurt just as much the second time. 

  • The Duke Marine Lab still does not want me for their research internship, despite the fact that I have applied two years in a row and my credentials have only increased. 

  • Oh, I've also been rejected from plenty of jobs that I applied for, at various fast food restaurants and stores.


Things I thought I'd finish but never did


Everyday L of Life

  • Sometimes, you know, you wake up and you know that today just isn't going to be your day. Or that this week isn't going to be your week. And you know what? That's okay. It's normal, and you have to have the bad times in order to really appreciate the good ones. I struggle with depression pretty heavily, so I have a lot of bad days, and I know how difficult it can be sometimes to continue to plow through when all of the odds are stacked against you. So take a deep breath, recuperate, and only do what you can handle- there's a time to push yourself, and there's a time to rest. Recognize which is which, and listen to what your body/mind is telling you.

On the Bright Side


Memories I made when I wasn't working/studying

  • My friends and I decided to take a spontaneous trip to UNC to watch them play Elon in basketball (pre-COVID, of course). The tickets were $7, and one of my friends is an Elon fan, so we were all like, what the hell! Let's do it! We were probably the only Duke fans in the stadium, and were pretty horrible fans (in the best way possible). To this day, I can't help but laugh every time I think of when my friend Nick yelled "BRICK!!!" on the top of his lungs in a dead-silent stadium while a UNC player took a free-throw. 

  • I was blessed enough to go to Miami through Duke FOCUS twice, now, and those were incredible experiences. The second time was a much smaller group, and I got super close to four other girls that went on the trip with me. We got to swim with dolphins, explore downtown Miami, take a train around the city, and visit a Bayside Marketplace- all of which I couldn't have seen without Duke. 

  • Countdown to Craziness freshman year was quite the experience. My now-best friend Morgan and I, who I barely knew at the time, ended up leaving East campus at 11 pm to spend the night outside of Wilson. We thought for some reason that we needed to get in line that early... in retrospect, we did not. We brought sleeping bags so we could sleep comfortably in the grass, and I tried to go to bed as early as possible because I had calculus at 8:30 the next morning. However, the sprinklers went off at 2 am, while some drunk, mildly insane person gave everyone an "inspirational speech" and wandered around with a trashcan on his head. I didn't get any sleep and went into calculus slightly delusional, but at least we were at the front of the line at the end of it all! 

  • There have been so many good times at Duke, but I think my favorite so far is when Duke beat UNC in the last second of overtime last February (2020). I remember being in tears on the couch with approximately 7 minutes left, because we were down by roughly 14 and I was convinced we were going to lose. And then we came back. By the time there were four minutes left on the clock, I was leading chants in a common room of around 30 students, who were all following my lead (it was a really cool moment). When Tre Jones sunk that jumper at the end of regulation, I thought the game couldn't get any better, but when Wendell Moore took Tre's airball and laid it up... Man. One of my friends had the foresight to record that moment, and every time I rewatch our reactions, I tear up a little. It was a really special moment... thank you, Duke, for bringing me such a special group of people.


Things I've learned that will still matter in 10 years


TV shows, movies, and books I've enjoyed

  • The Good Place 

  • Parks and Rec 

  • Modern Family 

  • Brooklyn 99 

  • New Girl 

  • Psych 

  • Lucifer 

  • As for books, there are too many to count, but the most recent book I read was "19 Minutes", and it is excellent. 10/10 recommend.


Things I'm proud of that you won't see on my resume

  • I talk about this again in a different question, but I went through a crazy-difficult breakup last year, and I am so, so proud of my own growth. It would've been easy to give up and quit, or pretend like I wasn't hurting and just push it down, but I forced myself to go to therapy and faced that hurt every minute of every day head-on. In the end, I recovered within 9 months, and I couldn't be more proud of myself for it. 

  • On a happier note, I won the teacher's pet superlative in high school- not because I was a suck-up, but because I was genuinely friends with all of my teachers (they're awesome people- I recommend getting to know them!!). Everyone knew I was going to win that superlative as soon as the list came out... so I guess I had a reputation? Not overly proud of that one, but you know. It is what it is. 

  • Also, I received a unanimous vote for "most likely to win the lottery and lose the ticket" in 8th grade. It's funny looking back on the picture I took for the yearbook, because I thought I was dressing up cute but in reality I'd like to recall all yearbooks from that year and burn that picture out of everyone's memories.


Unconventional skills


Quirk that makes me who I am

  • I make myself laugh all of the time! I'm not really that funny, I just think I am, and half of being funny is thinking you are (I think...). There's also a decent chance that I could break the GWR for most words spoken in a minute. I actually can't stand silence, so I... well, I make my voice heard. Frequently. In addition, I have a strange obsession with Grayson Allen? It's made me who I am, and I'm not changing at this point.


Small joys in my life

  • Sunsets. 

  • My amazing friends and partner. 

  • Cat paws (they look like beans!). 

  • Books. 

  • Music. 

  • Snakes and lizards and frogs (what? they're cute.). 

  • Long conversations with family and friends from home.


Obstacles I have overcome


Things I've done that pushed me out of my comfort zone


Failure that seemed like the end of the world back then but doesn't matter in hindsight

  • I pretty much failed every exam in Organic Chemistry. I was below average on all the exams except one, and it was incredibly painful to see the letter grade I received at the end. However, I realized that 1. it didn't affect my GPA that much, and 2. literally no one cares. Future employers won't ask why I got a C+ in organic chemistry. They probably won't even notice it on my transcript. It's just a grade. It doesn't matter at the end of the day.


Leaps of Faith


Life event that has made me stronger

  • So, I went through a pretty tough breakup during quarantine last March/April. It was the hardest thing I had ever experienced, and I definitely went through hell. I became even more depressed than I was before, and finally decided to go to therapy, which I had never been willing to do before. However, even though it was the toughest time of my life by a landslide, I managed to move on in nine months and am now happily in a committed relationship. I will always be proud of myself, because although I fell into the depths of hell, I came out of it running and with a smile on my face, and I have now grown into the person I was meant to be. Every single thing happened exactly as it needed to for me to be able to grow, and I'm all the better for it.

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