Humans of Duke: Monica Desjardins

Name: Monica Desjardins

Year: 2021

Major: Undecided

Hometown: Chandler, Arizona



1. What do you think you're going to major in?

Either Neuroscience, Psychology with a focus on Abnormal Psychology, or Program II where I create a major revolved around "Disparities in Mental Health Resources for Native American/Indigenous People" something along those lines

2. What would be your personal theme song? 

Love Galore by SZA

3. What are you most looking forward to at Duke? 

Study abroad

4. What is your happiest memory?

My happiest memory was graduating from Chandler-Gilbert Community College with my Associates of Arts degree BEFORE receiving my high school diploma. I spent 3 years in high school with college courses included in my schedule. It forced me to let go of my passion for playing the violin, but once I graduated, I was happy knowing I accomplished what a lot of people/peers said I couldn’t. Also, I made my family proud considering I am first generation and that was only my first degree out of many more to come.

5. What's your saddest memory?

My saddest memory was visiting my grandma for the first time after she had been diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. She was afraid to hold my hand and began crying for help because she didn't recognize me. 

6. Who is the most important person in your life? 

My mother

7. Describe a life-changing moment

Growing up I always knew my Dad was sick and needed to take his medication every night. I never questioned why he had to or what the pills did for him. I was oblivious to the signs and symptoms that kept him awake all hours of the night and had him acting manic from time to time. When I was old enough to recognize that he had been suffering from Bipolar Disorder and Depression, all along I realized that as his child, I am also susceptible to having the same mental health disease as him. This moment sparked my interest in neuroscience and mental health and is driving me to further my education until I graduate from medical school.

8. You’re a new addition to a crayon box! What color would you be and why?

Although maroon is my favorite color, I would choose turquoise. For my tribe, Navajo, the color turquoise represents happiness, luck, and health.

9. If you had to give up one of your senses, which would you choose?


10. What’s your most valued possession?

Native American traditional jewelry given to me by my grandmother.

11. Where is your favorite study spot on campus?

Downstairs of marketplace!

12. Name one thing you miss from home

My queen-sized bed

13. What’s your spirit animal?