The first day was mostly Nicholas School stuff-- meeting some of the head peeps in charge, other first-years, and some older students. I learned all about being a good TA and felt vaguely less lost getting around campus.
I also had a more general Graduate Student orientation, where we were talked at for awhile about fairly informative things and then got to walk around to a bunch of tables of people giving away free stuff and information for services and groups around Duke. I myself received multiple pens, a flashlight, and a variety of stickers.
On Wednesday, I visited the lemur center, where the lemur that played Zoboomafoo now lives. This excited me to no end, but others seemed considerably less impressed. They also allow some of the lemurs to live in a separated part of the Duke Forest, so that they can be studied in an approximately natural habitat. It was really interesting, and one of the other first year PhD students is going to be working there, so hopefully I'll get the inside scoop on those crazy lemurs... Wednesday night we went out to an interesting bar and got some decent panini type food. It was nice to relax a bit with people.
On Thursday, we had our Responsible Conduct of Research orientation. This was basically a really long repetition of "Don't Cheat", but it had some interesting discussion about what to do if you felt that someone was using questionable practices and how copyright works. Plus, we got a lot of decent food. A few of us met up later at Felix, one of the first year PhD student's house, and had a couple of beers. It was nice to just sit around and relax. I'm really glad that everyone in this program is so friendly.
Friday was pretty much open, so I biked on to Duke campus. It didn't take too long, but I felt a bit tired so I parked my bike on east campus (which is a bit closer to my house) and took a really short shuttle to west campus. There, I met with my advisor, Dean Urban, to discuss some specifics. It was a good meeting, and I felt much more certain about many aspects of my PhD. When I returned to my house, I felt strangely tired and my throat was hurting. Concerned, I decided to relax for a bit and curled up in bed. Little did I know that a hellish cold had been set upon me.