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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

8

"Thank you for applying but..."

  • Bass Connections 

  • Baldwin Scholars 

  • Muser Research 

  • Huang Fellows 

  • Robertson Scholars 

  • University Scholarship 

  • PhiDE, the premed frat 

  • Roundtable

4

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

4

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

0

Memories I made when I wasn't working/studying

9

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

9

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

9

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

0

Unconventional skills

0

Quirks that make me who I am

0

Small joys in my life

1

Obstacle I've overcome

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

0

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

4

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

0

Leaps of Faith

7

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

7

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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