Young, Wild, & Free – My Moxie Experience

Steff Niessl is a rising senior and interned at Legal Momentum this summer.

I admit, I’ve been putting off writing this last blog post for the past week because part of me doesn’t want to come to terms with the summer being over (and the other part of me has had my nose buried in a Kaplan LSAT endurance practice book). Since being home a mere five days, I have already transitioned back to my old summer job and have started a pile in my brother’s old bedroom of things I am taking back to Duke. These past eight weeks were a blur. A stressful, surreal blur. But even then and now, I think my moxie experience was one of the best things to happen to me.

I think about my dorm room in Union Square and realize that I too am now a guest, that I am no longer able to come and go as I please with the effortless swipe of an identification card (and how much this makes me sad). I think about Legal Momentum and my morning commute, how with only one week left I finally figured out where exactly I needed to stand on the subway platform to get in the car that would take me closest to the exit gates at Houston Street (and how it WOULD take me this long to figure out). I think about the nights out with my friends, gallivanting around without a care in the world so long as I had people to laugh with (and how New York City served as the perfect backdrop). All of these little things seemed unimportant at the time, but they all contributed to the person I became during my moxie experience. It sounds a little dramatic, claiming that this program “changed” me, but I believe it did.

Moxie destroyed my sense of apathy with respect to politics and policy (and made me wonder how I could have been so disinterested before). Moxie motivated me to start planning for my career after Duke and start studying for my looming October 1st test date. Moxie gave me the power to stand up to my guy friends who greet me in public by jokingly saying “Whuddup slut” as opposed to using my real name. Moxie exposed me to a lot of injustices I didn’t really notice at Duke, but it also gave me the means to fight these injustices. I refer to Moxie as if it were its own entity, but after this summer I realize she’s been dormant inside of me all along, it just took a few people to wake her up. So I’d like to give a special thanks to my Duke Engage leaders Ada, Erin, and Rachel, as well as my Legal Momentum supervisors Lynn Schafran and Tracy Vris for pulling me out of my slumber.

And thank you to my fellow Moxies.

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