Dear Georgetown Freshmen,
Let’s go back to the beginning. It was a chilly March day when I heard the mailman pull up to our mailbox. That walk back, small letter in hand, felt like the longest walk in the world. Even longer than when my dad makes me take down the recycling bins (thanks, dad). I had a feeling that the thickness of the envelope was a good sign, though, mostly thanks to the hours I would spend on College Confidential reading acceptance theories. The happy tears that followed comprise what is one of the happiest moments of my life.
Ironically, I had just returned from another school’s welcome weekend. My mom dropped me off at this other school’s accepted students weekend and didn’t even stay for the parent’s welcome session. I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. It was a text from my mom: “I would stay but…we both know you aren’t going here.” Mom, thanks for getting in the car and leaving that day. It proved to me what I already knew, deep in my heart: I was a Hoya.
If life is like a book, Georgetown comprises some of the very best chapters. The prologue of my Georgetown book is a nerdy Gianna in high school: the class president. The editor-in-chief of the literary magazine. The varsity athlete and field hockey captain who really just played on the bench. I mean, I would win the sportsmanship award every time, which basically means “you’re nice, but you’re not very good.” I was eager to start college and learn more about myself, probably not unlike many of you in this room. Then comes college, the start of many new chapter, and I sincerely hope this chapter begins at Georgetown. So chapter one: freshman year. Freshman year brings confusion about what to major in, and realizing your varsity athlete days are far behind you as you remain incredibly winded while walking up Georgetown’s hills. Freshman year provides floor bonding activities, like going to see a show at the Kennedy Center or making tough decisions like which of the 4 amazing cupcake bakeries within a 10-minute walk from the front gates you’re going to choose.
Spoiler: you will celebrate the end of Accounting 101 or Microeconomics with a favorite. I recommend unicorns and rainbows from Baked and Wired. Chapter two: sophomore year. This is the real rising action of a Georgetown experience. I discovered day trips to Annapolis and Baltimore with my friends, returning to our DC haven just hours later. I bonded closely with people who shared my obsession with Trader Joe’s and understood my intense fear of elevators. We tried every new coffee shop in every nook and cranny neighborhood in DC, but ordering a latte every time. This was also when I realize that I loved marketing and digital media, inspired by my engaging professors. You, too, will find your passion, whether it be in the Russian Language or Physics or Creative Writing. Or even a combination of all three!
Chapter three: junior year. I always knew Georgetown’s international presence was large, as I met friends from over 13 different countries. Then I went abroad to Copenhagen and visited 13 different countries myself, truly realizing the global bandwidth of a Georgetown education.
Chapter four: senior year. This is where it really begins to tie together. The conclusion. Senior year has been a combination of moments outside the classroom that really brought my Georgetown classes to life. To name a few: Discussing theories of every Black Mirror episode every created over half-priced burgers with purchase of a beverage on Mondays at the Tombs.
Long, winding walks back from the AMC Theater on K Street after seeing life-changing films like Black Panther and Call Me By Your Name with my friends, uncovering my inner film critic. I even got the chance to write a book for one of my classes entitled How We Met, about love and human connection in the modern age. It’s available on Amazon for 99 cents…shameless plug.
And with a book comes characters, the cast of people at Georgetown who have made their way into my story. I can’t imagine my life without the incredible people I’ve met here. Yes, there are incredible people everywhere, but I’m a firm believer that Georgetown attracts some of the brightest minds. People with the funniest jokes. The deepest intellects. The strongest beliefs, followed my the most intelligent of discussions. I mean, my friends have interned at the White House, stood their ground at some of DC’s most influential and world-changing marches and rallies, traveled to India to study abroad, launched successful start-ups. Okay, I’m bragging, but I think my friends are pretty awesome.
And if you come to Georgetown, yours will be, too. I read once that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around. We are all incredibly influenced by our friends, our professors, and our families. They will inspire you, kickstart your ideas, and make you a better person. I know that if you choose Georgetown, you will find your five and love them hard.
The epilogue of this book? Me, next year, moving across the country to San Francisco, California. Even though my entire family is in Maryland, I know that many members of my Hoya family will be with me out west as I pretend to know how to tackle adulthood. Mom and Dad, hopefully you will come visit, too. Georgetown gives you knowledge, but it also gives you a network that has your back, friends in whichever city you might choose to live, and professors that are just an email away when you realize you forgot that particular Microsoft Excel function on the first day of work.
If I could do it all again, I’d pick Georgetown twice. I could write and rewrite this “book” until I filled a whole library. I’d give all the unicorn and rainbow Baked and Wired cupcakes in the world to be in your seats right now, about to enter the transformational novel that is college.
The next chapter of your life is about to begin, and you are holding the pen.
It’s time to turn the page. So go on, and write your own story.