"Be Kind" by Kate S.
Dear Georgetown Freshmen,
Someone once told me that students at universities like Georgetown are like ducks-- they look calm as they glide across the surface, but below the surface their little feet are paddling furiously and frantically to keep themselves moving forward.
The point is, you’ll meet people who will brag about their 4.0 GPA and how they go out 4 nights a week. They’ll never do the reading but will always have something smart to say in class, and will be involved with every major club on campus and will of course attend all social events. You’ll start to think that maybe everything is just easier for everyone else, and that there’s something wrong with you because you have to work so hard to keep up. You’ll frequently feel inadequate and below average (and social media doesn’t help with this, by the way.)
But I promise, as you get to know people here better you’ll realize you had no idea what they’ve got going on in their lives, what they are struggling with, and how hard they are trying. People’s stories will humble you, so make sure you take the time to ask. And above all, remember to be kind. Even when you feel stressed and overwhelmed, always be kind.
And please, please care fiercely and passionately about something and make sure you act on it. People at your high school may not have understood or vibed with your fire, but it’s different here. You’ll find people who are just as interested and invested in the same things as you are, and you’ll feel at home. It’s what I love about this place-- how much people care, and how much they genuinely want to enact change and make a difference.
Be inspired by the hard work and accomplishments of your peers, not intimidated by them. There’s enough success and happiness to go around for everyone, and you won’t all find it in the same places. And if you feel overwhelmed, you’ll be so much happier if you just skip going out that night and put your head down and work hard for a few hours. It’ll build your confidence, and help you in the long run.
You are going to have a blast here, I promise. Sign up to dance in Rangila and Reventón, go to speaker events, play on an intramural sports team, and randomly ask people you’ve always thought were cool to get coffee with you. Find classes you want to get into, and never be discouraged by a wait list. Go to office hours and get to know your professors. Spend time figuring out what lights you up and makes you want to rant to your roommates about, and do more of that. You have endless opportunities here, so make sure you take full advantage of them.
Just remember that even though it may feel like you’re blundering through it all right now, the big picture is that you’re in an incredible place surrounded by awesome people and you’re going to be just fine.
Kate Sullivan (COL ’17)