One+One+One: Finding Connection

Text reads "Relationships, Connections, and Self-Support During Covid." It is accompanied by an image of two people hugging a heart-shaped globe.

Team Kenan’s first One+One+One conversation centered on the nature of evolving relationships, finding connection, and supporting yourself and others during Covid19. For many of the participants, the conversation was a much-needed opportunity to share harbored emotions and thoughts; for others, the conversation was a welcome reminder of normalcy.

The first question asked participants how they have found connection during quarantine.  Most students said that quarantine made building connections more difficult. Still, responses were wide and varied. Off-campus and home students struggled with feeling disconnected from campus and their friends. Moreover, the preconceived ‘leg-up’ that on-campus freshman had in forming new connections was nowhere to be found, as many freshmen cited difficulty forming relationships and dealing with newfound independence, and feelings of isolation. However, for other students, Covid was a much-needed break for personal growth and a time to consider the significance of their relationships.

Students also shared how the current situation had affected their relationships with friends and family. There was about an even split of positive and negative impacts. Some common negative sentiments were that quarantine’s drastic transition and uncertainty forced students to revisit unstable family situations, which impacted their mental health and well-being. Other students came to cherish the opportunity to reconnect with their family and high school friends and felt that their relationships improved. Many students acknowledged that they were ‘bad texters’ and struggled to keep in touch with distant friends. However, they all asserted a will to rectify lost connections and be more proactive in their future relationships.

Lastly, students addressed their efforts to support themselves and their friend groups. Common themes were taking time to support themselves, balancing hobbies and work, and combatting constant pressure to be productive. Moreover, students prioritized routine communication with friends and learned to normalize occasional self-indulgence.

Team Kenan Reads/Watches/Listens (Recommendations)

Hummingbird drinking from flower, against blue background. The hummingbird is listening to music on a phone.

Looking for something to read, listen to, or watch? Team Kenan has recommendations for you: 


  • Tamara Shopsin, Arbitrary Stupid Goal 
  • Susan Sontag, On photography 
  • Naomi Klein, On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal 
  • Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air  
  • Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other 


  • Malcolm in the Middle – I have been watching this during break and it’s honestly keeping me sane, I love it because I have a big family too (4 siblings), and the craziness (although we are nowhere near them) reminds of home 
  • Tiger King – this will distract you from all the craziness that is going as the characters are insane
  • Free Solo – I have been wanting to watch this for a while, so maybe you’ve already seen it, but if you haven’t you should give it a shot


  • Offshore Podcast, Muana Kea” – worth a listen you are into science and the relationship between science and culture
  • This American Life, “The Out Crowd
  • The Dave Chang Show. David Chang is the owner of the Momofuku restaurant group and host of “Ugly Delicious” on Netflix. On his podcast, he discusses his changing view of the purpose of food. As a young chef, he used to value conventionally aesthetic dishes and restaurant culinary techniques over his mom’s Korean stews and home cooking. Now, he has found the beauty in food made with love and made to nourish loved ones. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants are closing, supply chains are going out of business, and certain ingredients are harder to come by for home cooks. The practice of cooking has slightly shifted in meaning–for many, it is to sustain, for others, it could be a newfound hobby to combat boredom.


Banner reading Democracy, with three figures making v signs with their hands.

With the ongoing Democratic primary elections, Team Kenan took to the couch to find out what Duke students think about democracy. Many students think democratic system is ideal. However, they worry whether with America’s current state of political polarization, socioeconomic stratification, and barriers to voting, if democracy can truly exist?

Duke students had differing views on the role of government. One student remarked, “Government involvement is sometimes too strong. It keeps us from making informed decisions.” Another student said, “Government involvement is good in theory” but was unsure of how the government would realistically function in a democracy. Generally speaking, students were quick to express reservations about excessive government involvement but did not provide specifics on how the government should be involved in housing, taxation, or healthcare. 

We then steered the conversation back to campus, specifically the Young Trustee Elections. We asked whether Duke was in any way democratic, in the way that student groups and classes are structured. From students’ responses, it appeared that few were genuinely invested in voting for a Young Trustee. The role of Young Trustee, to many Duke students who stopped by the couch, seemed more symbolic than effective in advocating for undergraduates. Yet, for any democracy to function, people must be actively engaged and people must vote.

Democracy is a loaded conversation topic–as we progress through the 2020 elections, students will likely have changing insights and opinions. Perhaps this is a topic that we will have to revisit on the couch in the near future. 




While friendships have a large impact on our day-to-day lives, we seldom talk about what friendship looks like at Duke. This week at Team Kenan, members of the Duke community shared their diverse experiences of friendship.

Several Duke students asserted that the bedrock to a solid friendship is one of “trust, loyalty, respect, and supporting each other through tough times.” Others echoed these sentiments, saying that “friendship is when you can always count on someone when you’re feeling down.”

However, students cautioned that maintaining these friendships can often be a difficult process, so you “can only have a few circles of friends at one time.”. One student said that “it can be hard to maintain a lot of friendships at Duke” and requires “making the effort to make time and be available for your friends.”

A common trend among Duke students was having friends in the same classes or majors as them. One student stated that “most of my friends are people who I’m in classes with,” but questioned “if they’re necessarily the people who have the most common interests with me outside of class.”

Header reads "The Ethics of Food @ Duke and Beyond" against a background of fruits and vegetables.

Following the Food Insecurity Symposium on February 14th, Team Kenan set out this past week to discover what’s on the minds of Duke students regarding what’s on their tables.

Students had a lot to say about what Duke served up. While Duke prides itself on being ranked #1 in the nation for dining, many students are frustrated with the high prices. On the couch, we repeatedly heard comments like: “I think food on campus is really expensive, like a dinner costs me $12” and “I use more food points in a day than I should because I can never find lunch and dinner for under $10”. Others wished for a solution to unequal food points usage, such as a system to venmo food points “as not everyone uses the same amount and some people end up with less and some with more”.

When it came to the offerings on campus, price continued to emerge as an issue because “healthy food costs a lot more”. Another point of contention was the lack of Kosher and vegetarian options. 

In thinking of their diets holistically, one student acknowledged an attempt at going vegetarian for environmental and health reasons, but was unsuccessful. Another commented on the rise in popularity of multiple diets such as the ketogenic diet, the Paleo diet, Whole30, stating “I think there’s a lot of privilege in being able to cut out entire food groups or limit [oneself] to only whole or organic foods”.

Our conversations with Duke students revealed an underlying concern over not only the accessibility and offering of food on campus, but the intersection of privilege and diet.