"It’ll be a wild ride, but I think you’re ready for it" by May T.
You’re probably realizing now that your college experience isn’t exactly looking like the YouTube promotional videos you watched so intently when you committed to Georgetown. There is no inspirational background music. Healy lawn isn’t perpetually green and shiny and filled with smiling students tossing frisbees. There was no montage of the ICC labyrinth that you got lost in before classes even started.
Your college experience doesn’t look like the Instagram feeds of the “New Friends!!!” that you made from NSO, either. How are they best friends, already? How did they find a pack of other freshmen that they love so much and go to the dining hall with for each meal? How did they take such shining happy pictures at that party, where you felt so painfully uncomfortable?
Okay, May– first of all, put down the phone.
You’ve heard it a million times– don’t compare someone else’s highlights reel to your behind-the-scenes. And here you are, doing it! I understand. Partially because I am you, but also because it’s so easy to buy that stuff as reality. But chances are– that pack of smiling instant-best-friends is just as nervous and uncertain about things as you are. And if they’re not, if they’re truly happy, good for them! But that doesn’t mean that your time at Georgetown has to look identical with theirs to be equally valuable. Let me give you a rundown:
You did not find your soulmate or best friend at NSO. You got sick of “Closer” by The Chainsmokers. The dining hall won’t serve your mom’s homecooked fried rice. You went to your professor during office hours to admit you were struggling in his class, and he shrugged and said “try harder.” You wanted to be an econ major… and now you really, really don’t. Look, freshman fall is hard, and I don’t want to sugarcoat this for you.
But that’s okay! Take in all in. Appreciate the difficulties, because they’ll make you all the more independent, strong, and free-thinking. Don’t expect certain moments to be the best ones of your life, because you’ll find the most meaningful parts of your college experience where you least expect them. You’ll realize you were an English major all along, and meet some of the best professors that you’ve ever had. You will meet your closest friends through wacky, unexpected circumstances, and not through that exclusive club that has “the best parties.” You’ll take a risk and decide to study abroad in Europe for an entire year. You’ll learn to navigate not only ICC, but also M street and the rest of D.C., like a pro. Which is awesome, by the way, because D.C. is an awesome city with more than just political significance, and you’ll come to love it.
And don’t worry– even if you struggle to do so at first, you’ll come to love Georgetown. It will take time, but you will find a place you are comfortable and happy in. Don’t force yourself to call it “37th and hOme” if you don’t feel it just yet; don’t force yourself into social situations when you actually need to recharge just because you think it’s what everyone’s “supposed” to be doing. Relax, take your time, and settle in. Your time at Georgetown won’t look like the professionally made promotional video or someone else’s curated instagram page– it’ll be better. If you’re true to yourself, it’ll be real, and nuanced, and unique, anything but cookie-cutter. Listen to your own instincts, rather than your preconceived expectations, and then let Georgetown take you along for the next four years. It’ll be a wild ride, but I think you’re ready for it.
May Teng (COL ’20)