Jinwoo Chong\The Hoya

This past weekend I attended Senior Retreat, where a mix of 63 veteran retreaters and first timers such as myself spent 24 hours reflecting on our four years of shared experience on the hilltop. Although we were only an hour from Washington D.C., the change in my surroundings prompted physical and emotional shifts. I felt calm and my body slowed down as the maelstrom of deadlines and meeting reminders dissipated. I was excited to explore the rolling hills of the Calcagnini Contemplative Center perched atop the Blue Ridge Mountains in Bluemont, VA, alongside my friends old and new.

In many ways, a lot of the experiences and emotions mirrored those of my first days of freshman year. The symmetrical elements of my four years at Georgetown have built linkages between the exposition and denouement of my college career, with many rising and falling actions tucked in between.

I am not an aggressively social person. After graduation, I’ll be lucky to stay in close contact with 5 people from my year. But at the beginning of freshman year, I made friends with everyone — Harbin floor mates, Nursing and Health Studies classmates, upperclassmen in the clubs I joined. It was exhilarating but exhausting to be social, even before my first college midterms had rolled around. I had all the time in the world for late night Leo’s and basketball games downtown.

However, classwork built up quickly, sophomore year internships got busy and I became more selective with the time I spent with friends. Junior year further tightened the strings as my friends and I studied abroad. By the time I came back from being abroad I was unsure to whom I should even reach out.

Yet in the past few weeks of second semester senior year, I have spent more time with those wider groups I had previously neglected: former roommates, fellow International Health majors, underclassmen in clubs I joined. Even on Senior Retreat, it was liberating to make new friends and rekindle old acquaintances. It has been rewarding to take in the friendship of so many amazing Hoyas.

I also have come to realize that in the slog of sophomore and junior year, not only had I neglected the camaraderie of my peers, but also some of the unique experiences on campus. Freshman year I loved going to see speaker lectures and panels – learning from experts about human rights abuses in the Balkans or feminism in the workplace. Getting free food was always a great incentive, too. But it became difficult to prioritize two-hour lectures once leadership positions on campus and internship interviews commanded more of my attention.

As senior year comes to a close, events have become more accessible given my “retirement” from my other obligations. Only in the past few months have I been regularly accepting email invitations I used to delete without opening.  The speakers’ words are more meaningful to me now as my perspectives have broadened, and the food tastes even better, now that I no longer have a meal plan.

So to what end does this contemplative musing achieve? Perhaps to remind my classmates that college is an exploratory period- we should take the opportunity to learn from the CEOs, cabinet members, and the occasional presidents that pass through the hilltop, as well as from our peers. They may be CEOs, cabinet members and even presidents in the future, but for now they are the ones with whom you will share laughs at an improv show and drinks at The Tombs.

Take the time to appreciate their wisdom and enjoy their presence, not just your first and final semesters, but all the ones in between as well.

Lindsay Horikoshi is a senior in the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

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