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Hutchinson heightens to new levels at Duke

TUES. |1-24-23| FEATURES

     Shoes squeaking, basketballs dribbling, buzzers blaring, fans cheering — all sounds you associate with team rivalry if you’re Rose senior Mary Elizabeth Hutchinson because hey mom did her medical residency at Duke University and her dad went to UNC at Chapel Hill. This is where it all started for Hutchinson, this is when the idea of attending Duke University first took shape.

     Hutchinson did not give the school much thought after that, as she was only in the sixth grade at the time. Fast-forward to her junior 


Photo by Ava Alger

year of high school, Hutchinson decided she would apply to Duke. Many students see Duke as one of the harder schools to get into, so Hutchinson saw Duke as more of a dream.

     “They have the privilege of being selective since they get so many well-qualified applicants,” Hutchinson said.

     Hutchinson looked at other schools, but the more she looked, the more she became set on Duke.

     “I want a college where I can spend the morning at my house, but then go and do stuff on campus that same day,” Hutchinson said. “Duke just has a level of collaboration on every aspect: academics, …extracurriculars, sports; everything.”

     Hutchinson obsessed over Duke for months on end, but on Oct. 31, 2022, she found it difficult to submit her application. She struggled with the fact that this was the point in which she had to give up control.

     “My dad had to literally force me to submit it,” Hutchinson said. “I was kind of relieved once I submitted it, but I was really surprised that I was relieved.”

     After she submitted her application, Hutchinson put her energy into other aspects of her life, since Duke previously consumed most of her energy.

     “In that time period I kind of took a step back from college applications and…put my focus on spending time with my family, spending time with my friends and…school,” Hutchinson said.

     Dec. 17, 2022. A day that began full of anxiety for Hutchinson as Duke’s early decisions were set to come out.

     “I woke up really early that morning, which I never do, …I put on my Duke sweatshirt and I was like ‘Okay, I’m ready to face the day’,” Hutchinson said. “I was anxious to say the least.”

     Hutchinson distracted herself all day. She was doing great, right up until decisions came out and everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

     “2 p.m. rolls around and I realize I don’t have my computer with me so I have to run outside, get my computer, and then it's dead,” Hutchinson said. “That was terrifying because I knew they had my decision ready and I was just waiting for my computer to charge.”

     Congratulations and confetti. That was all Hutchinson needed to see on her computer screen before she stopped reading, and started screaming.

     “I was in shock because no matter how qualified you are, Duke is a dream,” Hutchinson said. “I also felt very grateful because…when you put your all into something and you work hard, and you finally see it pay off, that feeling just can’t be put into words.”

     Hutchinson is grateful for Rose and the community of support it has given her, especially English teacher Ashley Hutchinson.

     “I first met and had Mrs. Hutch when I was a sophomore and she…helped me grow as a student, a writer and even personally, she helped my confidence grow through AP Seminar,” Hutchinson said. “I definitely don’t think I could have gotten in without her, she has been with me every step of the way.”

     Hutchinson also believes the good work ethic her parents have always displayed for her, her mom and close friend Kinsley White played a role in her acceptance.

     “My mom has definitely been my biggest supporter, she is my role model and the hardest working woman that I know,” Hutchinson said. “Another great support system was…Kinsley, she would always say ‘Mary Elizabeth we’re going to celebrate if you get in, but if you don’t we’re going to celebrate your efforts’ and when I got in…she dropped off some cookies, my favorite candy and a balloon that said congratulations.”

     Hutchinson plans to double major in English and political science in the Fall. She also plans to participate in Duke’s certificate program to receive a certificate in policy, journalism and media studies, without majoring in it. This leaves her with a couple of different career options for the future.

     “I…want to go to law school and then after law school I really want to be a public defender, or I either want to use that journalism side and work for the Associated Press,” Hutchinson said.

     Rose has helped Hutchinson find what she excels at and she can not wait to pursue those passions at the collegiate level.

     “Duke has a really great newspaper called The Chronicle and I’m really excited to even be given the opportunity to try to write for it,” Hutchinson said. “They also have a great mock trial team.”

     Hutchinson is elated about her acceptance, but recognizes that it was not always easy. She doubted herself and wondered if she was good enough. One piece of advice she needed to hear and offers to others in a similar situation is:

     “If you’re pursuing your passion, if you’re doing what you’re interested in and what you love, to the best of your ability, …nobody can ever tell you that you aren’t good enough, because you are,” Hutchinson said. “Success will find you, you’re going to make it where you belong.”

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