"Lessons Away from the Blackboard" by Muriel V.
Hi to you that is probably as petrified as I am (4 years down the road) with the school year,
My heart still beats a little heavier every time I see Healy once I am back on campus from the summer. It is ok, I am still excited, nervous and uncertain of what is coming every year. The adventure is just beginning for you (and sadly ending for me), and these years fly by (and enough people will tell you that during NSO so please start believing us, Thanksgiving is just around the corner).
Welcome to what is probably going to be a great (and very bumpy, let’s be real) ride. Georgetown is probably the best gift I could have gotten in these last few years, but I want to take a moment to tell you that everyone’s story is a little different. Sometimes you might feel that you don’t love being a Hoya as your peers (and I certainly felt like that), but what I learned is that each and every one of us likes different aspects of college, that at the end of the day make the Hilltop feel like home.
It took me, though, a while to figure out what was so ‘right’ about this specific college (more specifically a semester abroad in another institution that made me figure out what made me miss Georgetown). For me, I realized that Georgetown was what I wanted because of the amazing combination of people around me. What NSO, my freshmen floor, all my random clubs activities and my dear and loved friends have shown me in the last 3 years is that there is no such thing as a boring person at Georgetown. I don’t know what are the admissions’ office magic powers, but they manage to create a type of community that amazes me, every time I meet a new person. Everyone has an amazing story in this school (and coming from a completely different culture, even you that thinks that coming from a New Jersey suburb is not cool, it is. Trust me. I never had prom and that is my biggest high school frustration, even though I’ve met enough people to tell me it is not that good of an event– see? You already have a cool story for me with your prom pictures. So yes, even though you don’t think so, you have a hidden gem by just being you to the rest of us). Take the time to listen to them. Take the time to learn from your peers. And more importantly, take the time to appreciate the people around you, knowing that you are also a valuable piece of this community.
Don’t get me wrong, you will take some amazing classes at Georgetown, and you will spend enough hours in Lau that will probably make your brain burn a little more than you expected once you signed up for that ‘’Principles of Macroeconomics’’ class (and don’t worry, y’all will nail school. It takes sometime to adapt to college, but it is no mission impossible, I promise). But, I think my biggest lessons at Georgetown came from those unexpected nights, from those unexpectedly wise friends, that once sat with me at Midnight Mug (my college’s most love/hate relationship is with those couches by the way, they are too comfortable to be in a library) and told me about their academic ambitions, or just a funny story about their last failed night out adventures on a Friday. Enjoy those moments, because those are the ones I remember kindly about these last three years, and that taught me what Georgetown meant for me and the life lessons I hope to take to my wiser alumni years (let’s see how this wiser thing will go). Friends are the family you choose, and all my dear girlfriends kept me real, held my hand right before that ‘’one in a lifetime interview’’ (disclaimer: those interviews never went well. And I survived and turned out just fine), and made sure that every day at Georgetown had its value, even if that meant singing along to old Shakira songs in a snow day. My favorite guy friends taught me that there is always time for Happy Hour, that all of us can be Messi at Fifa, that sometimes you just don’t reply to that text message (Barney was right: nothing good happens after 2 am), and that what you might just need is a beer and a hug after a tough day. Those little and uncorrelated moments remind me of who I am, to stay true to my beliefs, and to be ok with the frustration that comes from failure, which is part of all of our lives – and those are, for me, the true real lessons from college.
If I could give you one advice is: enjoy this community, let yourself be part of unexpected things (be part of Rangila!) and don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by what seems to be an exclusive group of people (I crashed enough Corp parties to be considered a member by people that did not know me in networking events, so truly not that exclusive – sorry guys). Be open, and learn how to listen to people that seem different from you. It is what kept me real and true to my own beliefs and mannerisms, but that also helped me to be a better person. When older people tell you that college is more than the classroom, I dare to say that college comes more from outside classes than inside. So please, keep your GPAs good (we are A-types so we like good grades, I understand it and you will stress about it regardless of what I tell you about my freshmen year grades. Fine, I will try: try not to stress. It is not that important), but don’t miss those birthdays, those ‘little’ 1-hour long study breaks – they will teach you more than you expected.
Last but not least – I am jealous of you, very jealous. I am not ready to leave the life in which all my friends live within a 1-mile radius from me. So please, for all of us that feel that real world is too scary just yet to be entered, enjoy the next 4 years for us, in your own way. Be ok with not liking 100% of it, because there is no such thing as someone that is happy 100% of the time (all those fire alarms in the middle of the night teach who truly has a sense of humor. If you add finals then, even the most bubbly of us will have that smile challenged), but also I hope you learn to see what may have taken me a while to realize: that the people around you at Georgetown are great.
Have a great time!
Muriel van de Bilt (SFS '17)