Over the next few weeks, freshmen and transfers will fumble with the add-drop period while seeking to explore new opportunities and passions. But in this time of new beginnings, the editorial board challenges each Hoya to take time in looking for commonalities rather than labels and niches. It is this editorial board’s hope that a greater conscious awareness of each other’s commonalities, rather than differences, will, at most, permeate into students’ daily dialogues and discussions, or, at the very least, lead to great fraternity and understanding among all of us who call this place our home.
Throughout this first month, students will find themselves resettling into old niches, be it a cappella groups, campus media, theater groups or old friend groups from New Student Orientation. For new Hoyas, such established groups will be fresh and new as they find the people who will fill out the next few years of their academic journey.
Yet a look through today’s headlines, dinner conversations and Facebook yields a world filled with “othering” and divisive rhetoric. Conflicts endure, stemming from differences in religion and ideological belief, while leaders of states and countries are divided over open borders and isolationism. All the while, students here arrive from across the continent and the world to explore academic pursuits and passions together under the same roof in this nation’s capital.
It would be foolish to say our Georgetown bubble is threatened by conflicts across political aisles and across the globe. Nevertheless, in a world and nation consistently divided on lines of religion, creed and politics, new and returning students have an opportunity to re-envision their communities and build themselves into men and women for others, as first envisioned by St. Ignatius. Georgetown’s students must be more conscious in looking past their own niches and comfort zones to recognize commonalities, rather than differences.
It is not easy to try to force oneself to fit in with a group that is entirely unfamiliar. Certainly this editorial board does not expect all students to completely reinvent themselves in order to gain a new perspective on Georgetown and the world at large. This is simply not reasonable.
Rather, this editorial board suggests that students take small steps every day to expand the parameters of their pre-existing identities. Students should listen to a guest speaker from the other side of the aisle, or attend a student cultural show from a group representing another unique cultural identity. The imagination to walk in another’s shoes is enough. Such steps are what actually allows students to further develop who they are and be able to empathize and better understand their fellow Hoyas who are not like them.
On the Hilltop, where identities can be shaped by the publications for which students write for, the teams played on and the classes taken, our most effective learning and individual growth can be found in the moment when we leave comfort zones behind. It is fine and healthy to call certain groups home, but students should not forget that the people seen in classes each day, whether they belong to H*yas for Choice or Vita Saxa, College Democrats or College Republicans, all belong to a common Hoya family. While we can find our identities and comfort zones in our passions, groups and pursuits, this editorial board believes more effective learning and conversation can occur when we take a moment to appreciate our common Hoya identity.
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