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ins and outs:2024 edition

By Kora Sotunde

On January 22nd, 2024, I turned 20. Now that I’m not a teenage girl and I’m officially ¼ of the way done with life (woohoo!), there’s a lot I’ve had to reflect on. I think it’s time we revisit some of our (outdated) behaviors and decide what’s in and out for our lives this year, for relationships and a little bit more! I already know what you’re thinking. What authority could I, Kora Sotunde, possibly have to commentate on the behaviors of undergraduate women at the prestigious Duke University? Doesn’t matter. As a twenty-year-old woman who has been through it with boys and girls on this campus, I have a duty to pass on my knowledge so that you don’t have to experience the epic highs and astronomical, abysmal, dastardly lows that I have! Prepare yourself, because this might get a little too real.


For a lot of us, college is the first time we had the opportunity to make friends on a mass scale. We all know what it was like freshman fall, befriending absolutely everyone and doing absolutely everything every single weekend, socializing in random dorm rooms and partying in crowded basements. Something I didn’t realize then is that you don’t have to open up to people just because they open up to you. You don’t have to let someone into your life just because they want you in theirs, and that’s okay. If you don’t enjoy someone’s company, if you leave interactions feeling drained, then reassess if they’re a person you’d like to be in your life. You have the choice to decide who has access to you. Choose wisely. Choose intentionally. And remember (this is something I always forget), your choice can always change. Someone may enter your life this season and then fade into the background in the next. That’s the nature of life. It’s dynamic and impermanent and nebulous and never quite the same as it used to be. Embrace that. Be intentional with whom you let partake in your life. Protect your heart, girl.


Do you ever find yourself in a dynamic where you’re giving more energy than you’re getting back? Always the one making the plans, always the one checking in, always the one texting first? No relationship is perfectly equal, but way too many are horribly imbalanced. If you’ve communicated how you feel and not enough has changed, give yourself the grace to pull back. Trust yourself enough to be okay without them. Love yourself enough to know how you deserve to be treated. Cheesy, but if they truly wanted to, they would. Take a step back, and reciprocate their energy, and I promise you, everything will become so much easier.


Being excited about life is in. I’m not talking about getting hype over an internship or something big like that. That’s to be expected. I mean the little things. Like the C1 stopping right in front of you during rush hour. Like Il Forno giving you your pasta bowl for free. Like Aritiza restocking your favorite top. Getting excited over the little things makes you appreciative of what you have., and just makes your day 10 times brighter. Take a moment to breathe and revel in life. To feel whatever it is that you love feeling. To express gratitude for the tiny things that spark joy in your heart. Life can be so incredibly beautiful if you let it.


I won’t lie, being delusional was really fun for some of us growing up. We had a blast doing things “for the plot” because it forced us to have balls and get out of our comfort zones. But that was then. And this is now. Now, we base our actions on empirically-derived supporting evidence!!! Always!!! Being delusional causes us to act in ways that make absolutely no sense. Being delusional causes us to tell our friends stories with bits and pieces left out because what really happened is too embarrassing to share. Delusion causes us to accept less and compromise on our values and expectations. Honestly, being delusional isn’t cute if you think about it. It’s kind of . . . sad. I challenge you, the next time you want to act delusional, do this instead:


1. Delete that paragraph. It’s embarrassing.

2. Go ahead and exit iMessages for me.



Do you know the feeling you get when a boy is scrolling through his camera roll and explaining their every memory? How you stop caring, get uncomfortable, and want to teleport to anywhere but there? That’s exactly how it feels when someone starts oversharing to you. So, to my dear Yappers and Yappetes, please stop. From this day forth, we’re going to think before we speak. This novel idea will get you through even the most exhilarating of gab sessions. If you’re an oversharer, know that this is not the end. There is a cure, and it’s called journaling. Get out that looseleaf and journal all of your pressing thoughts, and I mean everything. You’ll find that the more you journal, the less you feel like sharing every gritty detail of your unholy life. Trust.

Now for my hottest take.


Saying I love you willy-nilly is out. Before you try to kill me, let me explain. For me, love is something shared, something deep, and something true. “I love you” isn’t a phrase I casually throw out there. But for some people, it is. After a few dates, after a few hangouts, he might say that very sentence to you. Now here you are, heart pounding and brain swirling. Before you start planning your wedding and baby names in your head, pause. Do you believe that? Do you really, truly think they mean what they’re saying? Love is patient. It takes time. If someone is saying they love you too early on, that doesn't make much sense. You can’t love someone you don’t know that well. Love can be a dangerous game. It’s hurtful and confusing when people claim that they love you, but their actions tell a different story. Being told someone loves you is nice, but don’t be fooled. It’s not wise to stay in a relationship or believe someone based on their words alone. Instead, think about whether or not their actions reflect the “love” they have for you. If they do, then great. Love even harder. If they don’t, then don’t be afraid to find your love somewhere else. (Because you deserve it all.)

So what did we learn? 5 cutesy little ins and outs to guide our lives moving forward. I have full faith that you’re going to take what I’ve said to heart and have more fulfilling relationships. Now I’m going to do something crazy. I’m going to stop holding your hand. And you know what you’re going to do? You’re going to fly!

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