Approaching the end of my senior year at Georgetown and reflecting on my experience has definitely been bittersweet. Georgetown has given me so much, and it is impossible to express just how much I have appreciated these past three and a half years.
I came into Georgetown as a nervous freshman unsure how I fit into an institution I had dreamed about going to for years. Throughout the next couple of years, I discovered my academic passions, made lifelong friends, joined groups and organizations I loved, and began to find and understand myself in every capacity. Although I made some mistakes along the way, I want to share my senior wisdom so you can make the most of your Georgetown experience.
1. Change your major if you are not enjoying the courses
I wanted to start with this tip because I wish someone had told me this when I got to Georgetown. I started as a computer science major and quickly discovered that I wasn’t happy with what I was studying. I forced myself to take courses in a degree that I knew I didn’t like. My best advice is that if you are not enjoying the introduction classes of your major, you might want to consider another concentration.
Even though everyone will likely take some classes for their majors or minors they don’t love, try to find a major that interests you; it makes studying and learning so much more enjoyable. Although I eventually changed my major, I felt a lot of guilt, feeling like I wasn’t capable of completing the major I had set out for myself.
I decided to switch my major to economics with a minor in environmental studies. I discovered my sophomore year my interest in corporate sustainability and the intersections between environmental studies and business. The economics major provided me with a quantitative background and environmental studies laid a qualitative foundation. I was excited to do the work and all of a sudden I was interested in and passionate about the topics I was learning in those classes.
I wish someone would have told me that changing your major is so normal! Try different things and figure out what works for you. Your college experience exists to benefit you, don’t feel pressure to do something you strongly dislike.
2. Take electives
Although this is not always possible, take as many free electives as possible. After I decided to stop taking computer science classes, I took a lot of free electives to try to figure out what I wanted to do academically. Even after I changed my major, I have continued to take random courses in areas I have found interesting that have nothing to do with my decided major.
I’ve taken courses that were out of my comfort zone, fascinated me, confused me and excited me. From my free electives, I am graduating with a broad scope of knowledge and some niche understandings in some random areas.
My sophomore year I took a course called Sex, Social Justice and the Bill of Rights, which outlined women’s rights in the law, and this past semester I took a course called Prisons and Punishment about mass incarceration in America. Both those classes have nothing to do with my economics major but were a fascinating insight into areas I formally didn’t know enough about.
Think about topics and areas you haven’t studied in your major or minor courses and seek them out at Georgetown. The courses I have found that have not related to my major have been in departments I would have never thought to look into. Spend some time browsing the course catalog and reading about different classes that sound interesting to you. Take classes in topics you’re not too familiar with, ones that might be intimidating, and in topics that excite you aside from your major!
3. Say “Hi” to people in your classes
Another piece of advice I can offer is to make an effort to talk to people in your classes. My freshman year I became close friends with someone in one of my classes, and she is now one of my roommates and closest friends. I can’t imagine college without her and the friendship blossomed simply from saying “Hi” in class. It might seem strange to reach out to people in your classes, but it’s completely normal and a great way to meet people. You never know if the person sitting next to you in your Calculus I class will be your best friend. Don’t be afraid to say “Hi!”
4. Leave the Georgetown bubble and explore DC
My last piece of advice is to make an effort to leave Georgetown and explore DC. You’ll be surprised how infrequently you leave Georgetown. I found myself regretting not spending more time in DC. The city has so much to offer so try to carve out time to get out there. I personally love the National Portrait Gallery and ice skating in the gallery in the winter. Also during the holiday season there is a great Christmas market in the same area. You can also attend basketball games at Capital One Arena and cheer on the men’s basketball team! Whether you run to the monuments or go to museums in the city, we go to college in the nation’s capital and should take advantage of it!
I hope those tips inspire some underclassmen to make the most of their time at Georgetown. Our senior wisdom blogs will be a series so stay tuned for more advice and tips to help you during your time at Georgetown and beyond!