Luck, Ambition and Accident Form Time at Georgetown

By Jeff Goldstein

Several of my friends have told me I’ve stressed way too much over this senior viewpoint. They’re probably right. Despite this knowledge, I find it extremely scary to try to sum up four years and look to the future in a few hundred words.

Georgetown continues to open my mind immensely – most of my standard entry assumptions have been shattered, usually for the best. I can’t point to any one experience that did it, though, so trying to provide advice would be sort of silly. I guess I’ve come to believe that experiences create a more open mind, which opens the door to more experiences. A virtuous cycle, as my management professors would say.

However, most of my Georgetown experience betrays any type of strategy.

During my first few days on campus, I wandered up to The Hoya office for the paper’s open house, mostly as a test. I had spent several years on journalism in high school, but I got sick of it at the end, and I wanted to see if I could get excited about it again.

My summer-long skepticism was no match for Editor in Chief John Keenan, whose 10-minute rant on what The Hoya needed to do to improve – and how I could help – instantly reminded me why I liked working on a newspaper. Keenan was so confident in The Hoya that he introduced me to the people who were in The Voice office. He knew I would make the right choice.

I never had any sort of journalistic aspirations, but putting out a twice-weekly paper was fun and I wanted to be a part of that process. My interests shifted several times – from copy editing to the sports juggernaut to free-agent editor to the business side – but I stuck around because it continued to be fun. That office can be infectious! I can only hope that the real world will provide me with an opportunity to work with so many good friends, because I can’t picture enjoying my work otherwise.

My recruitment to The Hoya was one of my many Georgetown moments that combined luck with ambition and a bit of an accident to help create who I am now. Another was when the much-reviled housing office at Georgetown had a burst of brilliance in the summer of 1996, throwing me into a triple with two assigned roommates who would become great friends – not to mention the multitude of other residents of the 8th floor of Harbin who regularly dropped by for food or television.

The lack of strategy showed again in my selection of a campus job. I went down to the McDonough School of Business Tech Center a day or two after I joined The Hoya, just to check e-mail and print out a paper, and I walked out with a job application. Most of my Hoya peers still laugh at how much time I spend at the “BISL,” but I can’t imagine how unfriendly the business school and its students would be without the lab.

Study in Australia? Why not? Spending a semester with a 20-minute walk to the beach and about 50 Aussie students – who never missed the opportunity to go out with the Americans scattered among them – showed me how to relax.

After six months of excitement and travel, I came back to Georgetown renewed, and promptly forgot how to relax. Following my 21st birthday, I settled into a great routine consisting of stressing over job interviews, stressing over five business classes and stressing over the fact that I stressed too much.

While I probably won’t eliminate stress anytime soon, I’ve allowed myself to enjoy second semester a lot more. I have a job for next year, my course load is smaller and I’ve managed to make it this far in the 99 Days Club at The Tombs. And I’ve even had another one of those luck/ambition/accident experiences, getting to know a remarkable MSB junior who has become my first Georgetown girlfriend.

Although my name isn’t in the box on page two anymore, I still feel a burst of pride whenever I see someone reading The Hoya. It’s a great feeling to see someone in class with one eye on the chalkboard and the other eye on the paper. I especially enjoy seeing older Georgetown residents reading at Starbucks or Booey’s – I love to talk about how we’re a paper for the entire community, and that reassures me that I’m not completely dreaming.

Actually, a great deal of Georgetown life has the same dynamic. While in a way we’re isolated, we are here as a precursor to being members of a community. As much as we resist it, I think we might be prepared.

Jeff Goldstein is a former senior sports editor, sports editor and chairman of the board of directors for The Hoya

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