Spring 2022

Fall 2021
November Walk into Wellness

The Great Ginkgo Guessing Game
As part of our Walk into Wellness series during November, we invite Duke undergraduates to join us for The Great Ginkgo Guessing Game, a contest that celebrates a unique phenomenon that happens every autumn. The ginkgo trees drop most of their leaves in one day, creating a lovely carpet of yellow.

Enter the contest by doing the following:
 1. Visit Duke Gardens and take a selfie with any ginkgo tree.
a. Tag @dukeacademicguides and @sarahpdukegardens on Instagram OR
b. Email your photo to us at academicguides@duke.edu

2. Guess the date of the great leaf drop (we’ll use the largest ginkgo in Duke Gardens that’s between the amphitheater and the terraces).

There are two chances to win a prize: any Duke undergraduate who submits a selfie with any ginkgo in the month of November and anyone who guesses closest to the magical drop of leaves on the largest ginkgo will be entered to win a warm Duke sweatshirt for the upcoming cold nights of winter! The selfie portion will last all month long while guessing the date will end once the leaves all fall. (In case of an overnight leaf drop, we’ll use both days. And if nobody gets it exactly right, we’ll choose from folks who guessed the closest.) So get out to Duke Gardens, enjoy the autumn, “walk into wellness,” and win a cool prize!

Walks in Duke Gardens
During November, the Academic Guides are leading walks at Duke Gardens with intentional programming around wellness.

  • Every Wednesday and Thursday in November (except Thanksgiving week). 
  • Meet at the bus stop on Abele Quad at 3:55pm and we’ll walk together to the Gardens or meet us at Memorial Gate at 4pm.

Duke Real Talk

College can be fun and exciting, but getting through college, especially at a place like Duke, can be tough. You might be thinking to yourself, do I belong here? What if I fail? What am I going to do with my life? At Duke Real Talk, we’ll think through these and other hard questions out loud with fellow studentsfaculty, and staff. These casual conversations are a space to relax and be reala time to vent and learn from othersa way to help you make it (not fake it!) through Duke.

All Duke Real Talk events will take place on Zoom.

Choosing Well: Navigating Choices During College

September 9th  7-8pm
Register to receive Zoom link

College is a time for exploring interests, making friends, experiencing new things, building community, and much more. You might find that you are constantly having to make decisions—what classes you will take on what day? what club or clubs you will join? How do you choose what to do when there are so many options and FOMO is kicking in? At the first Duke Real Talk of the semester, join the Academic Guides, faculty, and fellow students in conversations around navigating choices during your time at Duke. 

Thriving, Trying, and Crying: A Mid-Semester Check-In

October 14th  7-8pm
Register to receive zoom link

Congratulations, you’ve made it half-way through the semester! Now is a great time to think about what is going well and what might need some adjustments. Trust us, you are not alone if you have to recalibrate your semester goals or routines. We invite you to check-in and think about what you need during the second half of the semester.  

Burnout: Burning the Candle at Both Ends

November 11th  7-8pm
Register to receive Zoom link

Balancing academics, social commitments, research projects, work, and taking care of yourself can be challenging. Often when things are hectic and our to-do lists seem endless, the first thing we sacrifice is our own well-being. This can leave us feeling more exhausted and stressed than ever, pushing us towards burnout. What do we do to get back on track? Join us for our last Duke Real Talk of the semester as we dig into how we experience burnout and ways we can avoid it.

Spring 2021

Moving Forward with Purpose (Series)

Anxious about tackling another hectic semester and the important decisions you have to make? Join the Academic Guides to create and pursue a purposeful vision for this semester, your major, and your career. In our Moving Forward with Purpose series, we’ll talk about how to set priorities and achievable goals to maintain balance, how to overcome obstacles so you don’t get sidetracked, and ultimately how to make decisions that will help you thrive this semester and beyond.  

Bracing yourself for another hectic semester? Start off on the right foot with clear intentions and goals for how you can thrive in your studies, relationships, physical health, and other important areas of your life.  

Tuesday, January 26th at 6pm  | Zoom Link: https://duke.zoom.us/j/95664189981

Wednesday, January 27th at 4pm | Zoom Link: https://duke.zoom.us/j/95683130957

Confused about which major to choose? Feel like you have to pursue a “practical” major so you can have a job when you graduate? This workshop will offer guidance for considering your academic path, along with co-curricular opportunities, in light of who you want to be and what you want to do. 

Wednesday, February 17th at 7:30pm | Register here: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1z7NWks2m5MWX0a

Monday, February 22nd at 4pm | Register here: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1z7NWks2m5MWX0a

Do you feel torn between following your interests and making money? In this workshop, we’ll explore this tension and the possibilities for charting academic and career paths that align with what you value in leading a life of meaning and purpose. 

Tuesday Feb 16 4PM | Register here: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bx6GxbjrH6f3rhA

Tuesday Feb 23 6PM | Register here: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bx6GxbjrH6f3rhA

Things not quite going your way this semester? Whether your midterms were disappointing, that internship/job didn’t come through, or you just feel the need to reset, come to this workshop to adjust your goals or develop strategies to keep moving toward your goals. 

Register here: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ac1RsAKvvfOgZNQ

Stay tuned for Quad-based program information.

Feeling weary with the semester’s end in sight? Come learn some strategies for tackling finals and staying sane in the process! 

Register here: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bxfzsz4HwoIdOmi

Stay tuned for Quad-based program information.

Duke Real Talk (Series)

College can be fun and exciting, but getting through college, especially at a place like Duke, can be tough. You might be thinking to yourself, do I belong here? What if I fail? What am I going to do with my life? At Duke Real Talk, we’ll think through these and other hard questions out loud with fellow studentsfaculty, and staff. These biweekly casual conversations are a space to relax and be reala time to vent and learn from othersa way to help you make it (not fake it!) through Duke. Duke Real Talk will be held every other Thursday night at 8pm beginning February 4th. 

Thursday, February 4th at 8pm

A panel of faculty and staff will share the ups and downs of their college experience and what they learned that helped them on their way. 

Zoom link: https://duke.zoom.us/j/97231017934

Thursday, February 18th at 8pm

Have your college classes thrown you a curve ball? Perhaps you’ve started thinking, “I don’t want to be a doctor anymore.” “I thought I was good at math and science.” “I liked English better in high school.” If you’ve reached a fork in your academic path or the path ahead is no longer clear, you are not alone. You may think everyone else knows exactly what they want to study and do after they graduate, but most people feel lost in college. We’ll talk about navigating uncertaintydeciding whether to persevere or change directions, exploring new interests, and (re)discovering purpose in your studies. 

Link to Register: 


Thursday, March 4th at 8pm

At a highly competitive school like Duke, everyone is bound to encounter failure and rejection at some point. These experiences sting and can shatter your confidence. We’ll talk about how to maintain a healthy perspective in the face of failure and rejection and how they can help us grow and open us to new (and possibly better) opportunities

Link to Register:

Thursday, March 18th at 8pm

With all the smart, talentedaccomplished students at Duke, it’s easy to think that you don’t measure up, that you don’t belong and that you were admitted by mistake. In this session, we’ll talk about Imposter Syndrome, the feeling of self-doubt about one’s own abilities and accomplishments and the fear that you’ll be discovered to be a fraud. Believe it or not, this is a common struggle among very high achievers! We’ll share the different ways Imposter Syndrome hinders us and how we can keep it from enjoying what we’re doing and achieving our goals.   

Thursday, April 1st at 8pm

Maybe Duke isn’t quite what you expected or hoped for, whether the people, the environment, or the opportunities, or you just don’t know why you’re here. Whatever the reason, you haven’t quite found your niche and are wondering if this is the right place for you. We’ll start to sort through the reasons that lead many students to feel this way and talk about what might help you feel at home at Duke. 

Thursday, April 15th at 8pm

Stereotype threat is an experience that can significantly and negatively affect a diverse array of students, including racial/ethnic minorities, women in STEM, students with disabilities, athletes, and international students. It generally refers to the risk of confirming a negative stereotype that members of one’s group are less capable in some way, but it can also affect those who feel subject to very high expectations (which is basically all Duke students!). The stress and anxiety induced by stereotype threat can hinder learning and success in academic and professional life. In the Duke Real Talk session, Dr. Sarah Gaither (Psychology) will offer a brief presentation and lead an interactive discussion on what stereotype threat is, how it’s experienced by different groups, and how it can be combatted by students and faculty, particularly as we approach finals season. 
This program is co-sponsored by Duke B.O.W., the Student Disability Access Office, and the Pratt Academic Deans.

Link to Register:

Study Break at the Gardens

Thomas leading
Students enjoying conversation with Thomas (Hollows Academic Guide) in the Garden.

The Academic Guides have once again teamed up with the Duke Gardens to offer students a chance to take a break from studying and recharge surrounded by the beauty of the Gardens. Come join us at 3pm on Thursday, January 28th; Thursday, February 25th; Thursday, March 25th; Thursday, April 8th; and Thursday, April 22nd.

May I please have your attention?: An Invitation to Pause, Explore, and Connect​

Slow down and enjoy some art at the Nasher Art Museum with the Academic Guides!

Join the Academic Guides at the Nasher Art Museum for our series, “May I please have your attention?: An Invitation to Pause, Explore, and Connect.” Our outings to the Nasher offer you a chance to slow down, focus our attention, appreciate the world through art, and connect with other students — in person! This program is for everyone, regardless of your level of familiarity with art. We’ll be guided by Ellen Raimond, Assistant Curator of Academic Initiatives, who will provide us some guidelines for how to look at, understand, and simply enjoy art.

Each session will focus on the following themes:

  • February 12: People (How do we pay attention to others around us?)
  • March 12: Places (How does a place/the physical environment shape our lives? How do humans shape a place/the physical environment?)
  • April 9: Problems (How do we understand what’s at stake in a particular social problem?)

After the scheduled portion of each session, you may spend some time in the Nasher’s outdoor sculpture garden until they close at 4PM.

Draw and De-stress at the Gardens with Dr. Paul Manos (Biology)

Friday, March 19 & 26, 3-4PM

Did you know drawing is an excellent way to calm your mind and study nature? At this Duke Gardens program, botany professor Dr. Paul Manos will guide us in observing nature through drawing. No drawing skills are required to join! The point is not to draw well but to be attentive, notice details otherwise overlooked, defamiliarize the familiar, and appreciate nature through close observation. Participants will each receive a sketch pad and sketching pencils. Space is limited to 12 participants per session.

S.M.A.R.T. Study Hall

S.M.A.R.T. Study Halls are a great way to develop effective learning strategies and build structure and accountability into your study routine with fellow students. These study halls will meet biweekly beginning Monday, February 1st, with one morning and one evening session offered, and will be facilitated by the Academic Guides. Each session will begin with a group check-in and introduction of a learning strategy, followed by 1.5 hours of study time (either individual or group, depending on your group) and a wrap-up discussion to set goals for the next two weeks. Participants may also meet individually with Academic Guides to discuss any questions during this time. We highly encourage participants to attend regularly to get the most of out of the S.M.A.R.T Study Hall, but drop-ins are welcome every session.

Major Declaration Nuts and Bolts

February 24   7:30-8:30pm
Major declaration is March 5! Walk through the nuts and bolts of making a four-year plan and learn about the tools and resources that will make it easy.

Fall 2020

This Semester's Trash

Guides invited students to write down one thing they’d like to leave behind from Fall 2020, throw it away, and leave with an affirmation or inspiring quote.

Students shooting a balled up paper with Fall 2020's trash on it at a trash can
Students throwing away the "trash" from Fall 2020

Wellness Walks in the Duke Gardens

Thomas Phillips and students practicing mindfulness

The Academic Guides partnered with the staff at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens to offer students wellness walks in the gardens to promote mindful reflection on the present and gain inspiration during a challenging semester. We organized over five wellness walks between mid-October and the end of the semester and more than 80 students joined the Academic Guides in taking time to reflect and explore the Gardens. 

Bookbagging Events

During the Bookbagging season the Guides hosted a variety of events to help students make informed choices about their spring semester schedule. The Academic Guides hosted Peer Advisors for two virtual drop-in question and answer sessions. Additionally, individual Guides, such as Debbie Hughes, hosted advice sessions for students to chat about their questions and concerns around bookbagging. 

Study Breaks

During the reading period, Academic Guides hosted varying types of study breaks allowing students a chance to destress and get some tips as they prepared for finals. 

Student smashing apple
Students living in Edens smashed away their stress before finals.