I first came to the Hilltop as an eight-year-old and have loved it ever since. Having a sister in the SFS, I always enter the front gates at 37th and O to visit with great joy. Although I do not attend Georgetown, my family and friends have made me think of it as a special place and a home to great memories.
As a new contributor to The Hoya, I hope to provide an outsider’s perspective on Georgetown through my column. I have never failed to pick up a copy of The Hoya during my visits to the Hilltop. I have witnessed the production nights’ frenzied atmosphere, bursting with energy and ideas, resembling the opening of “House of Cards” or the streaming of ferries across the Potomac River.
Georgetown as a school appears both welcoming and imposing. John Carroll, also known as “Father Georgetown,” stands as a steady figure watching over campus and a staple photo location. He sits peacefully above the Hilltop, observing students as they walk to meet their friends or hightail out of the front gates for some late-night of gallivanting. Healy Hall stands behind him, softly lit well into the morning, outshone only by the beautiful scenery of trees, brick-lined paths and silver street lights. Healy Hall is an historic building that tells the stories of generations.
In an old-modelled classroom, you can find the inspiring mantra, “Look onto the rock whence ye are hewn.” I have learned all of this by surreptitiously joining various Blue and Gray tours, in the hopes of someday starting my own competing service. During these tours, I enjoy comparing SAT scores with rising seniors and attempting to figure out why I cannot order from the campus Starbucks on my smartphone — I am still waiting on my GOCard.
Georgetown as a town is charming and beautiful. The PNC Bank, with its shimmering gold dome, situates it among D.C.’s prime sites as a shining city on a hill. As you walk along M Street or Wisconsin Avenue under a full moon on a chilly night, you are filled with this warm feeling of freedom — that one is in the heart of the capital of the greatest country on earth. There is nothing but time on those nights, and no better place to be. The restaurants are permanent fixtures that provide glimpsing tastes from around the world along a fun and lively experience. As a general rule, I avoid any store with a line that goes out the door — no matter how delicious its cupcakes are — but local inhabitants love anything in high demand.
Georgetown as a community is warm and welcoming, which visitors like myself appreciate. I feel especially lucky to have my sister and friends from grade school as hosts every time I pay a visit to Georgetown.
Smart, studious and sporting club loyalties like no other, Georgetown kids work hard and work hard some more, often plotting how to rise to the top of their organization. This is perhaps why they love their clubs, which offer an enjoyable social component to what is otherwise a highly academic environment.
Clubs provide them other avenues to debate politics, build connections and express themselves through something about which they are passionate. Moreso, this hardworking-Hoya mentality is why I often spy on students here sporting workout attire — or “athleisure” — while having no intention of actually exercising, but instead keep their glasses on the elliptical at Yates Field House, flipping through an introduction to international relations.
To Hoyas, cura personalis is about as important as supporting local establishments like Saxby’s or having a Tombs night on one’s 21st birthday. This underrated motto also explains why students care so deeply about the nation’s future and the state of the world, why they believe in being men and women for others and why community engagement is so critical to them.
As a final general observation, I am particularly impressed by the work ethic observed at a certain floor of the campus’s main, architecturally-experimental library. I believe it is called “Lau 2,” where you can really tell everyone is hitting the books.
Lau 2 by far truly exemplifies the hardworking Hoya mentality I have come to know and love. Hoya Saxa.
Andrew Bilden is the sibling of a freshman in the School of Foreign Service. GEORGETOWN FROM AFAR appears every other Friday.
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