Congrats, you’re about to start a new phase of life in these college years. “The Best Years of Your Life,” they say. While this is true to some degree, I can’t necessarily describe why… it is something you’ll just have to experience and judge along the way. But what I can offer, are some tips and lessons that might make your time at Georgetown more fulfilling.
Don’t follow clear paths so wholeheartedly
These next few years are about exploring. You have a highly resourced school, and there is so much happening in the city around you. While I’m sure you’ve done your research and have made plans for these next few years and beyond, don’t be afraid to stray away from your original plan. While goal setting in important, realize there is more than one way you get to reach them. Follow what feels organic and right for you.
There is more to life than Georgetown
Being a student in DC is amazing. There are so many museums, events, restaurants, and neighborhoods that represent DC’s vibrant community. Similarly, Georgetown is an amazing place. But once the semester starts it’s very easy to get caught up in the busyness of the campus. Make time to get off campus and explore beyond the “Georgetown Bubble.” Even if you don’t have some of your friends to go with, go alone!
Reflect and Nurture your Mental Health
These next four years will be some of the most formative years. You’ll face unique challenges, grapple with difficult questions, and be pushed out of your comfort zone. In a setting like this, it’s important to fuel your mental health. For me, I find rejuvenation in reflection through journaling or meditation. Campus Ministry and Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) offer resources that help with mindfulness and mental health. Try different practices out and see what works best for you.
Friendships sometimes serve a season
When you come into Georgetown some of the first people you will meet will be your floor mates or people in your NSO group. Everyone will be eager to meet each other and spend time with each other. Some of my best friendships come from people on my floor. But you can’t expect for all of these friendships to last. It is possible for these friendships to last but not required. Sometimes friendships and relationships serve seasons, which is totally acceptable. Don’t be bogged down if freshman floor or roommate relationships don’t pan out as anticipated – you still have many other years at Georgetown for other connections.
Regardless of what clubs and internships might tell you, you are enough
CAB fair, an annual event hosted by the Council of Advisory Board for student groups to showcase their work, can be a really great time to meet new people and learn about clubs, getting you excited to apply and become a part of that organization….only for you to apply and get rejected.
Trust me, I’ve been on both sides of being rejected and rejecting peers from clubs. Neither are great feelings, but regardless of what rejections or acceptances you’ll receive throughout your time at Georgetown, you are enough. You’ve made it to Georgetown which is a feat in and of itself. Club involvement is not the only validation that matters.
Extensions are your friend
Do not be afraid to ask your professors for extensions. They are mutually beneficial; your professor will likely get a chance to read higher quality material because you’ve had extended time to write, and you’ll be able to lift the burden of a time crunch of your shoulder in the midst of deadlines. I’ve found extensions most useful when I have multiple assignments due in a short period, or if I’m generally stuck with the prompt. Now I can’t promise that a professor will always grant an extension, so you can’t always rely on them, but the worst that can happen is that they say no.
Do that corny thing.
Don’t take yourself too seriously and try to enjoy what you truly love. The beautiful thing about college is 1) we are all nerds to some degree and 2) no matter how niche your interests or hobbies are there is a good chance you will find someone who shares that on our campus. Be unapologetically you, regardless of how corny or quirky you might be. Participate in that corny theme at the basketball games. Go all out for Halloween. You’ll look back and be able to laugh at these moments down the line. But right now what is most important is to not rob yourself of a fun experience.
Don’t forget to call home
For me, coming to school in DC from Texas was a big adjustment for me and my family. Regardless of all the new people you will meet at Georgetown, don’t forget about your family (your biological family or your chosen family) back home that has supported you. For me, I realized early on that I’m not just at Georgetown for myself, but I’m also at Georgetown for the people that could have never imagined Georgetown as a possibility. I am truly a community project, and calling home keeps me grounded.
And with all of this, I still have so much to learn as I enter my senior year. I’ll leave you with the tip to always continue learning. I’ve found the best lessons in the most unexpected places at Georgetown: staff that keeps Georgetown running, faculty outside of my department, gazing into the Potomac on a beautiful day. Take each day’s gift of this journey at Georgetown to heart. You’re lucky to be here, we all are.
Sincerely, a senior who is still a work in process,