"I have bagels but I'm out of cream cheese, so who knows?" By Mike P.
Dear Freshman Mike,
First of all, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow. I have bagels but I’m all out of cream cheese, so, who knows? Maybe oatmeal?
I’m not going to tell you that the next few years are going to be easy, because they aren’t. You’ll be stressed. You’ll feel like you can’t handle it. You’ll get rejected from stuff. Sometimes you’ll feel like you can’t keep up, and don’t belong here.
I’m also not going to tell you that you’ll find the perfect group of friends, or that you’ll eventually feel at home on the Hilltop. I can’t guarantee you those things, because they’re lofty goals that are still on my horizon during my senior year. Certainly some people will feel like they’ve made it to the Promised Land, being popular and smart and athletic and somehow stressed and chill at the same time. For me, the expectation of achieving those things made me feel like a failure when I realized I didn’t have them.
No, I’m not even going to tell you that it will all be worth it in the end. I’m not omniscient. Breakfast tomorrow is a mystery, as is my future. I don’t have a job lined up or a city I want to move to or any real solid life plan. Life isn’t all flowers and butterflies just because I’m a senior and I’ve been around the block a time or two.
What I can tell you is this: You have some amazing opportunities here. You can meet people from all over the country and the world. You can learn a whole ton of cool stuff if you go to class every now and then. You can make memories and friendships that will last forever. You can change the world. And all you need to do to take advantage of these opportunities is to be yourself.
Life at Georgetown gets immensely better when you aren’t afraid to be yourself. And don’t get me wrong: that is way, WAY easier said than done. When I was a freshman I didn’t even know who Mike Clifford Packard really was. I didn’t know that I love hiking, or that shutting myself in my room and playing guitar is the best way for me to relax, or that I really don’t belong in the business school. I didn’t know that I need friends who inspire each other and encourage each other to try new things.
I didn’t know whether I could truly call myself a Hoya if I didn’t fit into the mold of the stereotypical Georgetown student.
I can’t promise you success here. But the more you put yourself out there, the closer you’ll get to that elusive, nonexistent ideal of thriving at Georgetown. And by “put yourself out there,” I definitely don’t mean join the International Relations Club and subsequently never go to a meeting and ignore their emails for four years. I mean that when you meet a person, don’t try to be fun or outgoing or cool. Have the courage to be whatever you are, even aren’t sure of yourself yet. You’ll form real relationships that way, and maybe more importantly, you will discover the true (Sweet) Mike (Trailmix) Packard within.
You don’t want to spend your time here just getting by. You want to thrive in every aspect of your life. You can’t do that if you waste time trying to be the perfect Georgetown kid. So don’t.
Eat as much Wiseys as you can.
Oh, and join club swimming.
And let breakfast be a mystery.
Just do your best.