STUDENT ・ ARTIST ・ STORYTELLER
  "If I wasn't afraid, I would speak my mind and express my opinions without fear of the judgements of others."   - Gillian Samios  from Princeton, New Jersey, Public Policy '20

"What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?" (2018)

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by expectations – maybe from your parents, friends or just college itself? Are you afraid to pursue a profession because it might not pay a lot or not be considered prestigious enough? Are you afraid to start a hobby or fulfill a life-long dream because you think your day-to-day obligations should take precedence? Are you afraid to reveal something personal about yourself because people might treat you differently?

 

Fear is part of life. However, we are also all part of this community. And in community there is strength. You are not alone.

So we asked Duke Students from all over campus:

"What would you do if you weren't afraid?"

 

I was the art director as well as the photographer and designer.

The color of each person's text matches the color of their lips - it represents the things they would voice, let out of their mouths, if they were not afraid of societal limits, oppression, pressure.

Students were directed to pose according to what they wanted to say.

Photos was edited so that the colors were bolder, reflecting the overall attitude of this photo campaign.

  "If I wasn't afraid, I would speak my mind and express my opinions without fear of the judgements of others."   - Gillian Samios  from Princeton, New Jersey, Public Policy '20

"If I wasn't afraid, I would speak my mind and express my opinions without fear of the judgements of others."

-Gillian Samios from Princeton, New Jersey, Public Policy '20

     "If I wasn't afraid, I would study shamanism."   - Shadman Mohammed Uddin  from Roswell, Georgia, Public Policy '18

 

"If I wasn't afraid, I would study shamanism."

-Shadman Mohammed Uddin from Roswell, Georgia, Public Policy '18

     "If I wasn't afraid, I would travel solo -- across the country, or even the world. Even though I'm a very independent person, I'm constantly reminded that traveling alone as a woman is unsafe. I hope that in my lifetime, people will be able to live their most adventurous lives without being hyperaware of, and concerned by, their gender."   - Bella Grace  Rivera from Tampa, Florida, Psychology '18 

 

"If I wasn't afraid, I would travel solo -- across the country, or even the world. Even though I'm a very independent person, I'm constantly reminded that traveling alone as a woman is unsafe. I hope that in my lifetime, people will be able to live their most adventurous lives without being hyperaware of, and concerned by, their gender."

-Bella Grace Rivera from Tampa, Florida, Psychology '18 

  "I'd say 'no.' So often, I find myself agreeing to whatever anyone asks of me, even if I don't particularly want to do what they're asking. I suppose it comes from a place of wanting to be liked and to be loved - if I say 'yes,' will this person see me as someone they can turn to and rely upon? If I say 'yes' enough times, will I earn this person's seal of approval, as though it's a level I have to unlock with a quantifiable amount of points collected every time I say 'yes' to them? As though saying 'yes' is some form of currency that I can cash in after I amass a certain amount and then redeem a friend, a confidant, a lover in return? I used to think saying 'yes' to everything was a purely positive way to live your life - saying 'yes' means I get to try everything, I get to meet so many people I otherwise wouldn't have met. Saying 'yes' can be beautiful and powerful in its way of creating possibilities where there weren't any. But I have limits. Saying 'yes' to everything means I am stretched so paper thin that I can snap at any given moment. And it's exhausting, and it's unsustainable, and it's devastating to feel as though I'm disappointing anyone when I end up flaking or backing out or saying 'sorry, I can't anymore.' I love saying 'yes.' But I'm learning that it's okay to say 'no' every once in a while."   - Rachel Kim  from Westlake, Ohio, T'20

"I'd say 'no.'
So often, I find myself agreeing to whatever anyone asks of me, even if I don't particularly want to do what they're asking. I suppose it comes from a place of wanting to be liked and to be loved - if I say 'yes,' will this person see me as someone they can turn to and rely upon? If I say 'yes' enough times, will I earn this person's seal of approval, as though it's a level I have to unlock with a quantifiable amount of points collected every time I say 'yes' to them? As though saying 'yes' is some form of currency that I can cash in after I amass a certain amount and then redeem a friend, a confidant, a lover in return?
I used to think saying 'yes' to everything was a purely positive way to live your life - saying 'yes' means I get to try everything, I get to meet so many people I otherwise wouldn't have met. Saying 'yes' can be beautiful and powerful in its way of creating possibilities where there weren't any.
But I have limits.
Saying 'yes' to everything means I am stretched so paper thin that I can snap at any given moment. And it's exhausting, and it's unsustainable, and it's devastating to feel as though I'm disappointing anyone when I end up flaking or backing out or saying 'sorry, I can't anymore.' I love saying 'yes.'
But I'm learning that it's okay to say 'no' every once in a while."


-Rachel Kim from Westlake, Ohio, T'20

  "If I wasn't afraid, I would tell society that I am more than the stereotypes placed upon my blackness."   -Maryam Asenuga from Rhode Island, Public Policy/Arabic '20

"If I wasn't afraid, I would tell society that I am more than the stereotypes placed upon my blackness."

-Maryam Asenuga from Rhode Island, Public Policy/Arabic '20

     "If I wasn't afraid, I would say 'I'm not fine.' We are conditioned to reply 'I'm fine' or 'Good' to every passing 'How are you?' If I wasn't afraid, I would express my vulnerabilities and let my friends know when I am actually not fine."   - Kelly Cheng  from Long Island, New York, Economics '19

 

"If I wasn't afraid, I would say 'I'm not fine.' We are conditioned to reply 'I'm fine' or 'Good' to every passing 'How are you?' If I wasn't afraid, I would express my vulnerabilities and let my friends know when I am actually not fine."

-Kelly Cheng from Long Island, New York, Economics '19

     "If I wasn't afraid, I would say what I'm thinking without fear of being perceived as bossy."   - Anika Mukherji  from Northville, Michigan, Computer Science/Neuroscience '19 

 

"If I wasn't afraid, I would say what I'm thinking without fear of being perceived as bossy."

-Anika Mukherji from Northville, Michigan, Computer Science/Neuroscience '19 

  "If I wasn't afraid, I would go play for an NBA team."   - Jae Yoo  from Seoul, South Korea, Statistics '19

"If I wasn't afraid, I would go play for an NBA team."

-Jae Yoo from Seoul, South Korea, Statistics '19

  "If I wasn't afraid, I would tell society kiss my a**. We all to some extent feel the pressure to meet societal norms. But I shouldn't have to live within the limits set by others. Nobody should!"   - Jackie Park  from Seoul, South Korea, Public Policy/Computer Science '20

"If I wasn't afraid, I would tell society kiss my a**. We all to some extent feel the pressure to meet societal norms. But I shouldn't have to live within the limits set by others. Nobody should!"

-Jackie Park from Seoul, South Korea, Public Policy/Computer Science '20

  "If I wasn't afraid, I would throw the word 'paradigm' out of my dictionary."   - Sarah Ali  from Tampa, Florida, Public Policy '20

"If I wasn't afraid, I would throw the word 'paradigm' out of my dictionary."

-Sarah Ali from Tampa, Florida, Public Policy '20

     "Taking an unconventional path and pursuing entrepreneurship is a scary thought. With so much uncertainty, how does one find the courage to make the leap? One day, I hope to become a social innovator and work toward building more inclusive classrooms by expanding arts education for Black girls—helping them to find their voice and claim their space."   - Amir Williams  from Raleigh, North Carolina, Public Policy '18

 

"Taking an unconventional path and pursuing entrepreneurship is a scary thought. With so much uncertainty, how does one find the courage to make the leap? One day, I hope to become a social innovator and work toward building more inclusive classrooms by expanding arts education for Black girls—helping them to find their voice and claim their space."

-Amir Williams from Raleigh, North Carolina, Public Policy '18

  If I wasn't afraid, I would say 'I love you' more often -- and mean it."   - Jessica Pirilampa Lee  from Potomac, Maryland, Classical Civilization T'17, J.D.'20

If I wasn't afraid, I would say 'I love you' more often -- and mean it."

-Jessica Pirilampa Lee from Potomac, Maryland, Classical Civilization T'17, J.D.'20

     "If I wasn't afraid, I would say no."   - Ameya Sanyal  from Madison, Wisconsin, Biology/Global Health '21

 

"If I wasn't afraid, I would say no."

-Ameya Sanyal from Madison, Wisconsin, Biology/Global Health '21

  "If I wasn't afraid, I would run for President of the United States."   - Katherine Gan  from Cary, North Carolina, Public Policy/Global Health '21

"If I wasn't afraid, I would run for President of the United States."

-Katherine Gan from Cary, North Carolina, Public Policy/Global Health '21

     "If I wasn't afraid, I would take the damn compliment."   -  Miranda Wolford  from Laguna Niguel, California, Political Science '21

 

"If I wasn't afraid, I would take the damn compliment."

Miranda Wolford from Laguna Niguel, California, Political Science '21