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Students Urged to Explore All University Has to Offer

August 30, 2009 – More than 1,500 students gathered to begin their Georgetown years at New Student Orientation (NSO) on Aug. 30, starting with a reminder about the mysteries and life lessons awaiting them during their matriculation.

Now that Georgetown’s most recent group of first-years has been introduced to their academic departments, scheduled their classes, selected their dining plans and moved into their residence halls, Provost James O’Donnell told students that was only the beginning for them as classes start on Sept. 2.

“By Wednesday you’ll be in spaces that look familiar -- chalkboards, one-armed desks, clocks on the wall with hands that move amazingly slowly, but they’ll be places unlike any you’ve known before,” he said. “Places for reaching and testing, for slowing down and speeding up, places for taking responsibility -- for yourself and for the lives and world you’re about to be handed. Brace yourselves.”

Peer Counseling

And somewhere in the midst of it all, the first-year students will have to discover the keys that unlock their own voices and missions. Miranda Rose Hall (C’11) addressed her new peers by taking pages from her own Georgetown experience.

“This time two years ago, I was running a little late to my own freshman convocation, and I realized on the way that I’d grabbed the wrong bag, forgotten my robe and locked myself out of my room,” she recalled.

Though her convocation experience may have been harried, she still remembered sitting in the audience and listening to a chorus of Hilltop welcomes. “I remember feeling excited and terrified and completely overwhelmed by all of these distinguished, collegiate voices,” she said.

But it didn’t take her long to realize that the chorus of voices mixed in with many others along the way were there to help her on her journey -- everyone from the deans and professors to coaches and resident assistants.

Students Will Find Support at the Hilltop

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia echoed the reminder that students are not alone in their quests to meet their goals and aspirations.

“It is truly a special moment when you enter Healy Gates,” he said. “You’re beginning a journey … We believe so strongly in this journey that we have dedicated our lives to joining you, to supporting you and to challenging you in this endeavor.”

DeGioia asked Nereida Jaima (NHS’10) to stand during a portion of the convocation. She entered Georgetown after graduating from Chicago's Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, which is a member of a network of schools geared toward preparing students from underrepresented socio-economic backgrounds for post-secondary education.

“She represents the one one-hundredth of one percent of the world’s entire population,” DeGioia said, “who share with each of you the privilege of attending a major American research university.”

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