Your Story Matters! Reflection Prompts

For the past several months, the Duke University Archives and the Duke University Medical Center Archives have been collecting stories from students, faculty, and staff about their experiences during this unique time in history.

You may have seen articles about our efforts in The Chronicle or Duke Today. If you are anything like me, there is a good chance that you read about our collection efforts, but didn’t respond because you felt like you did not have anything to share. Or maybe you have too many experiences to share and it all just feels a little overwhelming! We want to encourage you to share your experiences whether they are big or small, funny or sad, personal or professional.

While the scope of this project is large, we hope that this blog post provides some answers to questions you might have about participating and give some framework for reflecting and documenting your experiences.

What format should I use? 

How do you express your thoughts? Pick the format that works best for you. If not a written journal, maybe it is a daily audio recording or photo project. Maybe you'd rather document your experiences with a friend! We'd encourage you to record a Zoom call with a colleague where you talk through your experiences and interview each other.

I’m still feeling stuck! What should I say?

Below are some questions that are designed to prompt your thinking and guide your reflections. Please feel free to respond to just one or all. These questions could also be a good template for a recorded Zoom conversation with a colleague.

Personal Impact Questions

  • When and how did you first learn about the COVID-19? When did it start impacting your life?
  • Are you taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19? What are they?
  • During this time, are you working in-person, remotely, or not at all?
  • If you’re a student, how has your educational experience been affected?
  • How are you coping with the ongoing public health crisis? What feelings are you experiencing?
  • What are some things you’re thankful for?
  • What is inspiring you right now?  Who is inspiring you?

 Duke/Communal Impact Questions

  • How would you describe the atmosphere at Duke and/or Durham right now?
  • What are you noticing about everyday changes in the world around you?

 Looking Forward Questions

  • What is something you want people in the future to know about your experience?
  • What are you looking forward to after this experience?
  • What do you think will be forever changed after COVID-19? What do you hope remains unchanged?
  • How have you changed from this experience?
  • What might you have done differently?

 All of these prompts are included in this 2 page handout. We encourage you to download and print this guide. 

Your Story Matters! Reflection Prompts, p.1  Your Story Matters! Reflection Prompts, p. 2

 If you are interested in sharing your story, you can do so right now! Submissions can be made online at this link.  If you still have questions that weren’t answered here, please check out our FAQ page. As always, please contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns!