Samuel Davis '13 — Student, Yale Law School, New Haven, CT
ICS instilled in me a capacity to ask probing questions and think critically about what lies beneath. When I started working after graduation as a consultant, it was that my ability to ask good questions in a structured way that helped me far more than any specific knowledge or skill. ICS made me better at challenging the assumptions underpinning my own life, and to contextualize what I was experiencing as a professional working with a wide array of individuals and organizations. That instinct to challenge and examine led me to a new job, as a director at an education non-profit in Boston, and there the topics I'd wrestled with as an ICS major--individual and group identity, notions of justice, race, and class--became real in a new way. As I gear up to start law school in the fall, I'm sure lessons I learned during my time as an ICS major will continue to redound in interesting, unexpected ways.
Advice Samuel would give Duke ICS students:
Embrace the fact that in the ICS major you will encounter ideas that seem perplexing, unexpected, radical. The point is not whether you agree with the ideas or not--it is that you let them challenge you to think in different ways, and that you bring that creative, critical lens to everything that you do. By nature ICS is very interdisciplinary, but I would encourage students to find a topic or theme that intrigues them and spend some time drilling down into that. When you graduate ICS, you will be able to critically examine systems and uncover how they are applicable in shaping events, beliefs, and individual lives, and it helps to have a focal point for your studies.