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The Duke-Stanford collaboration on this trip has been a really incredible experience. We have gotten the opportunity to talk about all sorts of things we experience: things we like, things we don’t, where we differ and where we are the same. Jacie and I have gotten a few chances over the past two weeks to work together, hang out, and cheer on opposing teams (specifically blue vs. orange team). (Sorry Jacie, but orange usually loses.) Aside from being at two different schools, playing two different sports, and having never met before the trip, we’ve gotten to know each other extremely quickly and have found a lot of similarities between us. Below is a quick list of some of our similarities, as well as some of our differences. And yes, this was a blast to write.



– Oatmeal: We both put syrup in our oatmeal, which we found out this morning. We also both love breakfast food.
– Northeast: Having both grown up in the Northeast, we both have a deep appreciation for the changing seasons. California and North Carolina both have very different climates than New Hampshire and Connecticut, so the two of us have had similar experiences adjusting to new environments.
– Music: Country jams, pop throwbacks, and all around good vibes. We definitely support each other during van rides when one or the other has control of the aux.
– Bouncy: Can’t. Sit. Still. We’re both always moving.
– Bad Shoppers: The two of us spent about three hours in “Old Town,” the downtown shopping center in this area. Instead of being enablers for each other to use the money in our pockets, we would usually discuss the pros and cons of the purchase for an extensive period of time, and then eventually decide not to buy the product in question.
– Rain: We both love rain, specifically the sound of rain on the roof of a cozy room. (This love for rain has come in handy in Shangri-La).
– Oversized Clothing: We both love overly large sweatshirts.
– Sunrise over sunset.



– Height: We tend to argue about whether Jacie is “little” or not.
– Friends vs. HIMYM: Jacie is a die-hard “Friends” fan, while I (Leels) am partial to “How I Met Your Mother.”
– Traveling: Although we both love road trips (specifically in trucks), Jacie tends to take every opportunity to travel and see new places, where as I (Leels) am more of a homebody.
– Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: I (Jacie) am a huge fan of mint ice cream, but Leels thinks it tastes like toothpaste.


In coming up with the above list, we spent a lot of time singing country music, talking about food and discussing the kind of friends we had in middle school. This is just one example of how fun and enlightening it has been to have the opportunity to work with other students from our schools and from a similar school all the way across the country. It has been so fun to compare details about our lives that are usually only discussed between close friends.

Working together in a new place with a different language and unknown peers can be pretty intimidating, but by feeding off of each other’s enthusiasm and energy, Leels and I have been able to come out of our comfort zones and make real strides with the kids at camp. The athletic aspects have been amazing too: Leels has taught me how to erg (definitely not easy), my roommate on the trip has taught me how to pace myself on long runs (Veronica, distance runner from Duke), and Brandon (wrestler from Stanford) has taught us the rules of wrestling. Living and working so closely with eight other collegiate student athletes has given Leels and I so many new perspectives, new skills, and incredible new relationships.

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