Today (Feb. 23), less than a week after this post,
International travel carries many requirements, passport, patience and Pepto-Bismol among them. For
Upon learning that
One class led to another, to an independent study to a second major, in cultural anthropology.
Such curiosity and ambition, not to mention a 3.44 grade-point average, are reasons Plumlee — his other major is
"I took the first class before we went over there, because honestly, I had no idea what to expect," Plumlee said. "So I thought, 'I'll just take this class for the basic knowledge on the culture and also the layout, where we're going to go.'
"Because we visited Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, a lot of those things. And I wanted to understand the cities we were in like Shanghai, Beijing, Kunshan. And Duke is putting a campus in Kunshan, so I wanted to know a little bit more about that.
"We went there and I was so impressed by everything. I couldn't believe how big the cities were, how populated they were, and I took a few more classes when we got back."
Academic honchos approved Plumlee's double major the day we spoke, and he was clearly jazzed by the emailed news.
"My advisor was sure I was going to get it," he said. "I wasn't so sure."
Plumlee chose psychology because "it was something my dad studied in college. My brother [Duke senior forward Miles] did it, too, and he liked it a lot. And I had met some of the professors because of my brother."
As is often the case, Plumlee's academic bent is rooted in family. His grandfather was a long-time professor at Purdue, and his parents pushed him to excel in the classroom.
"I feel like I developed good academic habits early on," Plumlee said, "and I've just tried to carry them with me."
Plumlee is the
"It's not an easy thing, but if you take advantage of the resources they provide, it's very doable," said Plumlee, who's contemplating a post-basketball MBA. "We have an academic advisor, and he has a good connection with the professors that we have, and tutors. Also, from our end, we have to have an open line of communication with our teachers because you are going to miss class, you are going to miss obligations that you have outside of class.
"For example, for one of my classes we have to go tutor at an elementary school. I may not be able to do that every week. … Most of them, not all of them, but most of them, are willing to work with you, provide extensions and help you get the work done.
"One of the biggest things is, whether you want to or not, as a student athlete you stick out in class either because you're physically bigger, so you want to show the other students that you respect the teacher, respect the class, by paying attention, participating, being engaged in the class."
Does Plumlee's competitive nature translate to the lecture hall?
"You're definitely running a different race than the average student," he said. "But if you can compete with them, you're doing pretty (well). You just have to realize, when you're at practice, they're studying. Now if I have a teammate in my class I'm going to make sure I get a better grade than he does.
"A lot of people say school's not fun, but it's fun here. You can make it fun."
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