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Best Places to Cry After Finals

By Spencer Chang, Class of 2025

Finals… not the most enjoyable part of the college experience. Prior to coming to Duke, I had naively assumed that I would spend the end of the semester wandering the beautiful campus and appreciating the scenery around me. Of course, I still do that, but with a stack of textbooks in my hand, heading to office hours to ask for help on the latest problem set. Contrary to the movies, studying does not end after one obtains their high school diploma, and having a good time on the weekend sometimes just means completing an assignment.

After waking up from what was supposed to be a 15-minute nap session with an empty jar of coffee in your hand, nothing feels better than to just let it all out. As an experienced procrastinator and studying crammer, I have compiled a list of the best places to cry on campus, whether it be by yourself, in a group, or with a close friend. And don’t forget, this is all temporary, and you will get through it one way or another, no matter how impossible it may seem. Here are just some places to go if “getting through it” doesn’t look so pretty.

Duke Pond

There’s something strangely comforting about crying in nature. It’s like a patient parent waiting to embrace you in their arms. You stare off into the horizon and the clouds that look like, well, clouds, and suddenly every problem feels insignificant. A “C-” on your biology final? Psf, who needs to study biology when we’re surrounded by nature? More than that, Duke Pond offers a great walking trail and a beautiful pier. The benches are usually quite empty, too, if you ever need some time by yourself to let the tears flow. Or, if crying makes you feel strangely energetic, running around the pond a few times is also an option. One thing I like to do is watch the currents, and picture life as a constant ebb and flow: there are tides we can’t control and tides that make us feel like drowning, but if we are able to come to peace with this uncertainty, then there is nothing stopping us from heading forwards.

In Front of The Pod

The best part about crying in front of the Engineering Pod is that you likely won’t be alone, and that is a powerful realization. A lot of times it’s easy to personalize our own struggles, feeling that we have no one to relate to, that everyone is successful, in control, and having fun on weekends. However, even just having one other person to struggle with makes a world of difference, because hey, if they can make it through it then surely so can you.

In The Chapel

Crying in the chapel is a spiritual experience. Even if just for the shortest moment, it feels like you don’t have to carry all the weight by yourself, that there is someone looking out for you. As another bonus, it’s a great place to take crying selfies and post them on your spam.

And there you have it, three beautiful places to let those tears flow during (and maybe after). Best of luck on your final grades! If we ever happen to meet at these places don’t be afraid to say hi :))



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