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Sarah Xu

Sarah Xu is a junior majoring in economics with a minor in computer science. After college, she’s interested in doing something at the intersection between business and social impact. She loves reading, group karaoke, and long conversations.

L's Taken


"Thank you for applying but..."

  • DukeChronicle opinion column(reapplied the next semester)

  • DukeEngage Guatemala

  • NPR Ted Radio Hour internship

  • DukeEngage Puerto Rico

  • Story+ climate change podcast internship

  • Bridgewater 

  • Resident Assistant position(reapplied the next semester)

  • Center for Public Integrity Stanback internship

  • League of Conservation Voters Stanback internship

  • Enotice(journalism start-up) internship

  • Accenture

  • McKinsey

  • Bates White

  • EY Parthenon


Things I thought I'd finish but never did

  • The opinion columns I planned out but didn’t finish writing

  • A hackathon project

  • The You Will Be Able to Draw By The End of this Book I bought (I am currently still unable to draw)


Everyday L's of life

  • Losing so many pairs of headphones

  • Killing a succulent

  • Going out without contacts on and not being able to recognize people

  • Not finishing unpacking until the end of the semester sophomore fall

  • Having a terrible sense of direction

On the Bright Side


Memories I made when I wasn't working/studying

  • Talking and listening to music with friends on the Alspaugh fire escape

  • Many conversations on various benches on East campus

  • Staying up until 3am in the Alspaugh study room with two friends

  • Making bruschetta

  • Driving to Mapleview ice cream at sunset!!!

  • Girls nights in suite 2002

  • Taking walks and listening to good music by myself

  • Watching the sunset at the beach with high school friends when we were all back because of COVID

  • Boardgame nights with my family


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

  • The quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life (a quote from Esther Perel)

  • If you keep on doing something that makes you nervous but is good for you, it becomes less scary over time

  • Learning is less about being smart than it is about breaking a problem down, figuring out what you know and don’t know, and putting in time

  • It’s good to focus less on what people think of you and more on how people feel around you (inspired by this Mari Andrew post)


TV shows, movies, and books I've enjoyed

  • New Girl

  • The Good Place

  • Fleabag

  • Lady Bird

  • Good Will Hunting

  • The Half of It

  • Love Actually

  • The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

  • We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider

  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

  • The Ezra Klein Show

  • Invisibilia

  • The Tim Ferriss Show


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

  • I prioritize my relationships

  • Phone-banking in the 2020 election

  • Even though I can get nervous about speaking up or talking to someone new, I usually still go for it anyway

  • I usually get enough sleep 

  • I used to hate exercising but after a lot of trial and error, I’ve found workouts I like


Unconventional skills


Quirks that make me who I am


Small joys in my life

  • Playing soft music in the morning

  • Seeing a friend unexpectedly

  • Bookstores

  • Words that make you feel less alone

  • Sitting in the sun on nice days

  • Golden hour and the pretty shadows that come with it

  • Reading tiny love stories

  • Dancing to good music

  • Patterns made on the wall from afternoon sunlight coming in through windows


Obstacles I have overcome


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

  • Talking to strangers for my journalism classes

  • Publishing opinion columns in The Chronicle

  • Speaking up in group conversations where I don’t know everyone

  • Going to a professor’s office hours even when they’re intimidating


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

  • Getting a 48/100 on my first college midterm in Econ 201

  • Not getting into a DukeEngage program freshman year after someone told me everyone gets in

  • Getting one of the lowest scores on the midterm in my Development Economics class when I thought I wanted to work in development economics

  • Not getting an interview from a company I really wanted to intern for

  • Making a simple math mistake in an interview (I divided by 10 instead of 100)


Leaps of Faith


Life events that have made me stronger

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