Dear Georgetown Freshman,
Where do I begin?
It feels like just yesterday I was experiencing all of the same emotions I’m sure are rushing through you now – the subtle fears and anxieties that come with the unknown, but also the excitement and giddy thrills that a college campus can bring. Questions like, “Am I going to be able to leave my mark here?” paired with, “Will I be accepted by this new world?” were all running through my mind as I prepared to call the hilltop my home.
As a senior now, it all seems a bit surreal as I look back on what I have been through. After taking the time to reflect on the growth I’ve endured, I realize all of the advice I would have loved to receive when I was in your shoes.
Georgetown freshman, here is the most salient thing you need to know: love is amazing and it is infinite, but it is also very complex and sometimes messy. Over the course of your tenure here at Georgetown, it’s likely that you will come to love some of the most amazing souls this campus has to offer. That love may come in the form of friendships that you know will last forever. Or maybe it will find its way to your heart through mentors who will offer guidance and perspectives that could change your worldview entirely. And in some cases, that love may come to light through more romantic relationships – ones that will force you to love yourself before you can love that other person. When these beautiful connections form in front of you, I urge you not to run from them. The overwhelmingness of giving or receiving so much emotion can be frightening, but it will also force you to truly evaluate what exactly you value in yourself and in others. That’s where the complexity I mentioned before comes from.
Nevertheless, with this much vulnerability can come hardship as well, and that is the second piece of advice I want to leave you with. As you go on to foster these relationships, be mindful of the emotional, mental, and even physical toll these investments can take. From friendships to romantic relationships, your love for them will vary and how that love is reciprocated can vary too. And with this advice I hope you are more consciously aware of who you trust to confide in and more importantly, the integrity and respect you show for those who trust to confide in you. Georgetown freshman, I honestly believe that your happiness and your ability to thrive and become the person you always envisioned yourself to be will be largely dependent upon the folks you surround yourself by. Who will you have to serve as your support system and provide you with advice and reason when you need it most? Who will you share some of your fondest moments on campus with?
Not to be mistaken, this is not a letter ordering you to create the most meaningful relationships of your life tomorrow. Instead, I wrote this to encourage you to be mindful, respectful, and intentional as these relationships begin to form. Additionally, I want you to find comfort in knowing that you are human, and that you will make mistakes along the way. That is okay. But be sure to learn from these mistakes, otherwise you will find yourself hurting those you hold dear and surrounded by energies that are toxic.
Georgetown freshman, I am so immensely grateful for the meaningful relationships I’ve been able to cultivate over the years. However, I am also deeply saddened by the ones I’ve let slip through the crack and by the people I’ve hurt along the way. Be wise and joyful as you complete your freshman year. And hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to know that you are always loved, because we all are!