Four Fundamental Freshmen Facts

By Matthew D. Danzig

Four minor tips to this year’s incoming freshmen, grounded in words of wisdom present and past:

1. “O liberty! How many crimes are committed in thy name!”-Mme. Jeanne Roland. Any kind of proper introduction to college life must deal, first and foremost, with the new freedoms granted to first year students.

So to the new Hoyas-a group of 1,500 18-year-olds who might very well storm the Georgetown campus on an adrenaline-crazed tear, screaming “Freedom!” in search of the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n Roll” promised by every wistful description of college life ever-what wisdom can be offered them to avoid self-destruction?

Moderation. At the risk of sounding excessively adult here, my first tip to the freshmen is to use moderation in almost all things Georgetown. Do party, but refuse to fall prey to the excesses found at Georgetown. Do study, but at all costs avoid burning out and losing interest in a time when academics should interest you the most. Do make good friends, but never close yourself from meeting new people different from yourself.

Like a grand chef who eats out in an effort to explore new ideas for the menu at his own restaurant, you are here to taste as much as you can of what Georgetown offers you. The best way to do that is by not committing yourself wholly to any single flavor or dish. The only way to do that, my baby Hoyas, is moderation.

2. “Georgetown sucks, man.” -Disgruntled Georgetown freshman. This is not to rain on your parade, young ones, but more to startle you, an attempt to jolt you with a piece of knowledge that not many posess until the realization, and its sometimes depressing effects, are full-borne upon them: College is not utopia.

Dare I say it? Georgetown is not perfect. And no matter how ideal an experience you have this first year, there are sure to be times when our school’s imperfections wear you down and make you ask yourself the dreaded question, “did I choose the right school?”

Persevere, mes Hoyas petits. Freshmen at every school all go through periods of adjustment at one point or another. (I know I started strong myself, but then hit the Homesick Wall around week three and consistently cried to sleep until my roommate told me to shape up or ship out.)

3. “Everywhere I have sought rest and found it only sitting apart in a nook with a little book.” -Thomas Kempis. My absolute favorite tip: To be the first to truly introduce you to Lauinger Library. First rule of university life demands a separation of work and play, so to escape the blasting Snoop, Nin64, unofficial “hall sports” and Domino’s explosions in your dorm, where to? It’s time to forget the Leavey Center. . .go to Lauinger, son.

Get to know this library. Go there, work there, nap there, relax there. Find the Pierce Reading Room; hit the fifth floor and experience the quiet that orders you to study or leave; head south to floor two and take your first “email break”; chuckle at the dirty comments in all the wooden carols.

I have put in twenty-hour, non-stop sessions at Lauinger, and that’s just bush-league sucker stuff. To set up camp with a few solid co-studiers at a window seat or a table tucked away in some hidden corner is the only way to do academics at Georgetown. Get your studies started right; get over to the library.

4. “Pleasure is everything.” -Diana Vreeland, professional Swinger. Before you spring chickens take this last one straight to heart and throw all those shiny new laptops and Hoya notebooks out the window, let me qualify with one more drop of upperclassmen pseudo-wisdom.

You come to learn, meet people, and have experiences all leading to the end of changing who you are. With that mission underway, what you define as pleasurable changes, too. If you are studying too hard, and not having any of the going-out, carefree, “Animal House” fun that you should, then your mission remains incomplete. Equally, if you are hitting the bars six nights out of seven and find yourself having trouble remembering the name of your freshman English comp. professor, then you are not getting the job done either.

Miss Vreeland, an ultimate mistress of the early seventies, was entirely right: pleasure is indeed everything. You just need to find the right balance of this and that here at school, the right balance which lets pleasure seep into everything you do.

Matthew D. Danzig is a senior in the College.

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