Nicholas Duval: ‘I've learned to lean on friends, collaborators, and professors more than I did when I first came here’

Nicholas Duval

Africana Studies

Philadelphia, PA

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

I've learned what makes a truly engaging argument/piece of writing/filmmaking/etc., and when and how I need to push myself to create something significant instead of settling for something mediocre. Knowing that standard is likely going to guide me for the rest of my life and help me to go further.

What is your main extracurricular activity--why is it important to you?

I'm a touring experimental electronic musician performing under the name EEL TANK. Music and performance have always been of the utmost importance in terms of self-expression (whether dealing with my mental health issues or my queer identity) and in terms of challenging myself and fully realizing my artistic vision. I'm thankful for the shows I got to play over the years at Cornell, and I hope that the music community at Cornell grows even more collaborative and constructive in the years to come. I'm glad that Fanclub Collective has come to emphasize electronic music again. Seeing Juliana Huxtable DJ at Big Red Barn as a first year student was an extremely important moment in my musical life.

How have you changed since you first arrived at Cornell? What have you discovered about yourself?

I think I've learned to lean on friends, collaborators, and professors more than I did when I first came here. Accepting help and maintaining friendships is really important to sustaining oneself over one's undergraduate years. But I've also learned that I have it in me, even when I don't think I do, to expand my thinking, identify my weaknesses, and change myself for the better.

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		 Nicholas Duval