A father wraps his arm around his daughter and leans his head against hers. His daughter smiles off-camera.
Category: Student Experience

Title: ‘You’re a Trailblazer, Honey’: Behind-the-Scenes of Family Goodbyes and Move-In 2023

From Aug. 18-19, more than 1,600 new Hoyas traveled from around the world to begin their new lives on the Hilltop. 

Amid new faces and family goodbyes, we followed along on their move-in journey. 

A group of Hoyas jump in the air beneath an archway of balloons and hold signs welcoming new Hoyas to the Hilltop campus.

Meet new students and their families, who let us in on their road to the Hilltop and their hopes and dreams for the next four years. 

Editor’s note: The following conversations were edited for brevity and clarity.


Two parents and their daughter stand together in a dorm room laughing. The daughter is wearing a navy blue Georgetown sweatshirt and the mom a white T-shirt with Georgetown's logo on it.

Jordan Forbes (SFS’27) (left) is a first-year student studying international politics. Her parents, Noelle and Dan Forbes (right), drove in from Oneonta, New York.

Dan: This morning, we were sitting on the front deck of the Airbnb, and I said [to my daughter], what are you worried about? She wasn’t worried about too much. I was like, I’m worried I didn’t prepare you enough to send you out to the wild. It’s more of a me-problem than a her-problem <laughs>.

Noelle: I’m a little bit worried about sending her off into the big world. I am super private with my emotions, so I’m not very gushy. I’ll wait until later. I don’t want to get blubbery right now <laughs>. I can’t even go there.

A close-up of a short-sleeve button-down shirt with a ticket to a Hoyas basketball game in a man's pocket.
Dan Forbes, father of Jordan Forbes (SFS’27), with a Georgetown basketball ticket in his shirt pocket.

Dan: I’m as excited as she is. I just can’t wait to hear what happens.

Jordan: He was giddy about the parent webinars. He was taking notes. He was like, ‘Oh my God all this stuff is so cool! You’re going to have so much fun in your seminars!’

Dan: I do have four pages of notes.

Noelle: I think I’d be more worried if she wasn’t coming here. This atmosphere is so cool, and so I’m mostly excited for her. That is putting a damper on the worry.

Interviewer: What was it like driving on the Key Bridge and seeing campus for the first time?

Dan: It’s moving. I didn’t grow up that way. I grew up in a no-name town in New York and stayed an hour or two away from it. And I’ve seen [Georgetown], but now that she’s a part of it, it’s a different feeling. I’m awestruck a little bit.

Noelle: Seeing the pinnacle of the building over the bridge gave me chills. And then I just started crying <starts tearing up>. Because I was like, she made it. I’m so proud of her.

Dan: It’s an achievement that our family isn’t used to. That’s pretty much what it is. You’re a trailblazer, honey.


A dad looks on at his daughter, whose back is to the camera, and smiles to her as he holds a box on move-in day in her dorm.

Chloe Holter (H’27) is a first-year student studying human science in the School of Health. She was joined by her dad, Corey Holter (SFS’91), an alumnus who graduated from the School of Foreign Service in 1991. They traveled to Georgetown from Michigan.

Chloe: My dad went to Georgetown for undergrad. We did a tour [during] spring break of my junior year, and I just loved it. I immediately fell in love with the campus and the area.

Interviewer: Was Georgetown something your dad talked about when you were little? A close-up of a beaded bracelet on a young woman's arm that says "Hoya Saxa!"

Chloe: Oh yeah. He watches the basketball games still. He has a ton of gear he wears all the time, the whole thing.

Interviewer: Did you always want her to go to Georgetown?

Corey: I wanted her to have the option and make sure she knew about Georgetown, because of the global nature, the emphasis on service and the kind of kids she’d meet. Talking about Georgetown as much as I do, I probably naturally brainwashed her <laughs>, but it wasn’t purposeful.

Being back here, it brings back memories. In a way, I get to relive those being back here. I need to find the right balance between reliving my youth and intruding on her experience. <laughs>. It’s a delicate balance.

I’m just super excited and proud.


A male college student lugs a large suitcase onto his bed in his dorm room.

Rai Muhammad Hasen Masoud (C’27) is a first-year student studying government and economics. 

Rai: I’m from Lahore, Pakistan. I flew in two days ago. The journey was tiring. I had to take three transit flights to get here. It was around 28 hours of traveling.

Interviewer: How did you feel like leaving Pakistan and your family to come to the U.S.?

A male college student unpacks a green sweatshirt that says "Pakistan" across the front.Rai: It was hard, because in Pakistan, we have very close familial systems. Our grandparents live with us, so we are all really close. It was hard for my extended family as well. They all came to the airport. There were like 50 people at the airport <laughs>. I’m the first generation, so it was the first time someone went to the U.S. to pursue an undergraduate [degree].

It was surreal, but at the same time, a bit emotional. That was the first time I left my family, and this is my first time in the states. It’s really far. I [won’t be able to] go back to my country [until] next summer.

Interviewer: What made you choose Georgetown?

Rai: My ultimate plan is to pursue politics in Pakistan. So for politics and government and foreign service, this school was the perfect place for me. I chose Georgetown because they have a wonderful Alumni Association. I wanted to follow their footsteps and immerse myself in the political experience right across White House.

For me, power is like real estate, right? The closer you are to the center of power, the [more] powerful you are. That’s how I chose, ultimately.

A male college student holds up a large tapestry of Vincent van Gogh's painting, "The Starry Night."

Rai: This is The Starry Night. I always had it in my room. I just loved Starry Night and the concept behind it. Vincent van Gogh suffered from schizophrenia. He was in this rehab place, and the only thing he could see wasn’t as pretty as this [painting] is. So he imagined it all inside his head and painted this in his rehab prison. He didn’t have the perfect view from his place, but it was all about imagination. Transcending the normal boundary of imagination. That the sky’s not limited.

Interviewer: Is that a reminder for you?

Rai: Exactly. It’s a reminder for me that life is all about perception. You only lose when you accept that you’ve been defeated. So that’s my motto to always keep on pursuing what I’m after.

Ultimately, I wish to become the prime minister of Pakistan. I want to pursue the executive and since there’s a lot of corruption in Pakistan, I don’t want to stop. That’s the end goal. I just want to go in and strike the system and try my luck.


Two sisters smile at one another inside a dorm room at Georgetown.

Grace Kearns (C’24) (right) is a senior studying biology and global health, and her sister, Juliette Kearns (C’27) (left), is a first-year studying history. Grace spent her first year at Georgetown learning virtually from Southampton, New York, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her senior year, she accompanied her sister through the gates for her move-in.

Interviewer: What was it like to see your sister drive through the Georgetown gates for the first time?

Grace: It’s a mix because I can’t believe she’s that grown up already. I still think she’s in eighth grade and I’m in high school. But it’s the best. I can’t wait to see her grow and experience the year. Because it was so life-changing for me to be here. So I’m really excited for her.

She’s just always worked really hard ever since we were little. She’s just amazing. I’m so proud of everything she does.

Juliette: Same to her <laughs>.

Grace: I want it to be her school now too. So she’ll be able to forge her own path. I’ll just be here to help for the year.


A male student smiles off-camera while unpacking in his dorm room during move-in.

David Stewart (SFS’27) is a first-year student studying global business in the School of Foreign Services. He was joined by his mother, Yolande McKay, from Orlando, Florida.

David: Georgetown was my number one dream college.

Yolande: We thought the dream wasn’t going to happen because he was placed on the wait list. And then the second wait list.

David: By the time early June came about, I was like, OK this isn’t going to happen. We were actually at orientation [at another school] when I got an email saying, ‘We’d like to discuss your position on the waitlist.’ It was like a sign. It was like divine intervention.

Yolande: I had told him it was going to happen. In April I said, we’re going to manifest this. He knows what he wants. He always knows what he wants. So I was like, it’s going to happen. Let’s believe it.

A mother holds up a flip flop and smiles as her son laughs in the background in his dorm room as they move in for the first time.

Interviewer: How did you manifest it?

Yolande: I wrote it down on index cards that I carried around with me. That he was going to go to Georgetown. That the financial aid would work out. He was going to get everything he needed for it to happen.

It was coming down to the end because that was close to mid-June. That’s how we ended up at orientation.

David: I got the call and stepped outside of the orientation classroom. She said the selection committee was convening and would I still be interested?

A few days later, I got the call and she was like, “I want to be the first to congratulate you on your acceptance,” I was so happy. I was over the moon. It was a dream come true. Things like that don’t happen. And for that to happen, it didn’t feel real. When my mom came home, she was screaming, I was screaming.

Yolande: I was screaming.

Interviewer: What are your hopes for David in his first year and at Georgetown?

Yolande: I always say when people ask that he’s going to run the world. That’s how I look at him. I see so much for him. I can’t wait to see what he does because I’m going to be like, ‘That’s my son.’ I just see great things.

A mother smiles proudly at her son in a dorm at Georgetown.


A male college student wearing glasses and a navy blue Georgetown T-shirt smiles off-camera in his dorm room on the first day of move-in.

Adrian Frauca Arenas (C’27) is a first-year student who’s studying computer science and is part of the Georgetown Scholars Program.

Adrian: I’m from Panama. This is my first time traveling alone.

I got here at 4 a.m. But I was greeted by a volunteer from GSP [the Georgetown Scholars Program]. She offered me somewhere to nap, to get something to eat, and helped me get set up.  

It meant everything to me. Maybe I felt a little scared, maybe a little alone, but she was there to help me. That’s something I could only have gotten at Georgetown from all the colleges I considered when I was thinking about applying abroad.

I couldn’t have ever imagined being able to be here when I was younger. I like to think that I’m doing it not just for myself, but for my parents, for my grandparents. I want to represent the things that they taught me in the way I am, the way I interact, in the efforts I make. Their support has stuck with me.

I think it was them [his grandparents] who gave me this little card of St. Michael the Archangel. It’s a memento I carry with me. It means a lot to me. That’s one of the things they taught me, being very spiritual, very Catholic. That’s also one of the things that first stood out when I learned about Georgetown. It was an opportunity to continue growing my faith. We’ll see how everything unfolds. It’s a world of possibilities out here.

My whole family has always told me to try and be good to others in any way that you can. That’s one thing that I think about a lot. In what ways can I also give back? Through these four years and even beyond that, what is my mission? What can I choose to make my mission to use all the opportunities I have for good? It’s a big blessing.

Interviewer: It’s a beautiful thing to be thinking about on your first day at Georgetown.

Adrian: Lots of big thoughts. Maybe it’s too big for my own head right now <laughs>. But I have a long road ahead of me to figure those things out. A really big four years that I can live to the fullest to take all of the experiences, all of the opportunities I can to discover what it really means to be a Hoya.

A male college student looks reflectively off-camera. He wears glasses and a blue Georgetown T-shirt.