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Brian Li

Hi! I'm Brian and I'm passionate about climate change, wealth inequality, healthcare, and politics. Oh, and TV. I'm notoriously good at binging shows. I know that's a pretty aggressive way to start off an introduction, but I find that it's a bit more interesting than "Hi, I'm Brian. I'm a senior (actually a dropout) at Duke majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Economics." Plus, in professional settings, people have a tendency to just focus on education and work experience. I really care about understanding the people behind the facade, and I find that asking about someone's passions is a great way to get them more excited.

L's Taken

5

"Thank you for applying but..."

  • Facebook (rejected multiple times) 

  • Google 

  • Amazon 

  • Apple (never even made it past the resumé) 

  • 12 of the 16 colleges I applied to during high school

0

Things I thought I'd finish but never did

5

Everyday L's of life

  • Clogging up the drain in the bathroom in Randolph when cleaning root rot out of a banana plant 

  • Meeting with the cops at 3 AM to explain taking down a broken fire alarm from a friend's room 

  • Running into my RA when sneaking a drunk friend back into my room freshman year 

  • Spending a birthday alone and sad thinking that everyone forgot even though my friends had organized a surprise party for me

On the Bright Side

5

Memories I made when I wasn't working/studying

  • Making boba for dozens of people on Fridays with Bobby 

  • Getting my hair cut by Eleane and Harrison in my dorm room with a beard trimmer as substitute for hair clippers 

  • Watching my roommate from Cali skipping around with joy on his first ever snow day 

  • Playing Code Names, Catan, and Super Smash Bros with friends in Catalyst at 2 A.M. on a Friday 

  • Learning to fall in love with Duke Basketball and waiting in 12 hour lines for games

2

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

  • Family is important regardless of what tense relationships existed in the years prior to college 

  • The friends and community you build will persist throughout your life and support you when you need it the most

6

TV shows, movies, and books I've enjoyed

  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (great in audiobook form when jogging) 

  • Friends (probably watched the entire series at least 5 times during college) 

  • I Love Lucy (I'm a sucker for classics, used to hide it from my roommate out of embarrassment) 

  • The Big Bang Theory (finally felt like being nerdy was cool)

  • Avengers: Endgame (the culmination of half of my life) 

  • One Piece (incredible plot, but don't start it unless you have time to watch 900+ episodes)

5

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

  • Being there for my friends through their breakups, disappointments, and struggles 

  • Staying up through the night to help classmates with CS250 projects 

  • Making a conscious effort to improve my relationship with my parents 

  • Consistently going to the gym for a semester after failing to do so for the first few years of college 

  • Taking classes in neuroscience and globalization purely out of interest and not for the purpose of career or degree

0

Unconventional skills

0

Quirks that make me who I am

3

Small joys in my life

  • Eating a Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McMuffin from McDonalds on a Saturday morning 

  • Getting a hug from a friend when I'm stressed or sad 

1

Obstacle I've overcome

  • Depression that negatively affected my life and spilled over into the lives of friends trying to help me

2

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

  • Seeking a psychiatrist at CAPS and admitting that there are certain obstacles I cannot overcome on my own 

  • Taking a leave of absence from school (and eventually dropping out) to build a startup even though I'm accustomed to taking the safest path

0

Failures that seemed like the end of the world back then but don't matter in hindsight

0

Leaps of Faith

0

Life events that have made me stronger

5

Things I wish I knew coming into college

  • Almost nothing you do freshman year will consequentially affect the entire rest of your life so there is no need to feel internship pressure so early 

  • Figure out who you are and what you want out of your life in college because it does not necessarily get easier once you have left school 

  • Don't be afraid of being vulnerable, it's surprising how quickly people respond when you're willing to open up first 

  • Take classes for the sake of exploring new interests, you'd be surprised at how much you might enjoy topics outside of your major 

  • Life is not linear. There is no singular path that you have to take in order to be successful.

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