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Cynthia Dong

I'm a sophomore who's doing a self-designed Program II called "Health Disparities: Causes and Policy Solutions"! I'm from Kansas, but I was originally born in Maryland. My academic interests are pretty much everywhere from chemistry to literature to philosophy to public policy to media studies. In my free time, I love hanging out with friends and meeting new people! I also love visiting cozy coffee shop and bookstores, the vibes really let me fantasize about my future apartment in New York filled with plants.

L's Taken


"Thank you for applying but..."

  • Bass Connections 

  • Baldwin Scholars 

  • Muser Research 

  • Huang Fellows 

  • Robertson Scholars 

  • University Scholarship 

  • PhiDE, the premed frat 

  • Roundtable


Things I thought I'd finish but never did

  • Many, MANY workout plans 

  • Most books on my shelf 

  • An online story I wrote (I've left it on a cliffhanger since 7th grade...) 

  • A fish I was trying to embroider for my mom


Everyday L's of life

  • I'm really bad at doing my skincare routine daily  

  • I can never hold onto a water bottle, I always lose them 

  • My regular sleep time is from 3-4 AM (yikes) 

  • I'm either really good or really bad about being on my phone, there's no in-between

On the Bright Side


Memories I made when I wasn't working/studying


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

  • Everything bad always passes, and things can always get better 

  • Real friends are hard to come by 

  • In life, having 5 close people is all you need. 

  • Happiness is a lifestyle choice, it's something you have to work for 

  • You can't fix or change other people. You can only change yourself. 

  • Success is defined by nobody but you. 

  • What makes life worth living is people, relationships, love, and the little moments 

  • Hard work will get you farther than talent alone 

  • Life has 3 answers to your question: No, Not yet, or I have something better


TV shows, movies, and books I've enjoyed

  • Anything Marvel! Currently OBSESSED with the TV series they're putting out (Wandavision + Falcon and the Winter Soldier) • Queen's Gambit is a MASTERPIECE • Percy Jackson, my childhood hero 

  • To Kill A Mockingbird 

  • Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa) 

  • Phineas and Ferb 

  • Avatar The Last Airbender 

  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down 

  • Miraculous


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

  • I'm an intensely loyal friend who will be there through thick and thin for the people I care about 

  • If I want something, I will set my mind to it and I won't give up 

  • I'm good at reading people and empathizing with them 

  • I'm genuine and honest about my intentions 

  • I can play piano, violin, guitar, ukulele, and I sing 

  • I made my own recipe for whipped raspberry buttercream frosting that's to DIE for 

  • I always bounce back, no matter how bad it gets 

  • I used to be an intensely shy person, but I worked really hard to become more social 

  • My ability to cut out toxic people from my life


Unconventional skills


Quirks that make me who I am


Small joys in my life


Obstacle I've overcome

  • Having depression and anxiety (something I still struggle with, but am a lot better at handling)


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


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

  • Getting a 60% on a stats midterm 

  • Getting rejected from programs that someone told me "everyone gets into" 

  • Not getting the full-ride scholarship offer to Duke because I was worried about whether my mom could afford it 

  • Rejected from Huang Fellows without an interview


Leaps of Faith


Life events that have made me stronger

  • Having to help my single mother raise my little brother 

  • Losing all my best friends in high school (it made me realize the true meaning of friendship, as cheesy as that sounds) 

  • Realizing that my dad could never live up to what I wanted him to be 

  • Letting go of my romantic relationships with people who weren't right for me 

  • Becoming a Duke student 

  • Every rejection I've ever faced (it's always pushed me to become a better person) 

  • Being a DSG Senator


Things I think every Duke student should keep in mind

  • You don't have to know what you want right away. Everyone is on their own path and goes at their own pace. 

  • You don't have to have a "passion" or a "dream life". Sometimes, just existing at peace is okay. 

  • You got in here for a reason. If you're here, it means Duke chose you because Duke believes in your ability to succeed here. 

  • Don't listen to what other people have to say about what you're doing. Live your life on your own terms. 

  • You are truly never alone. There are so many amazing and kind people at Duke who want you to be happy and successful. 

  • Everything you feel is valid. Even if it's not reasonable, it's still valid. 

  • Don't be afraid to start over

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