I often joke with my friends back home that I go to Hogwarts. The humor is usually lost on them, but the fact is, this place has some magic about it. As much as I have griped about its drawbacks, I have also been the recipient of some of its best perks, and I’d like to share them with you in case that you, like I did, ever entertain thoughts of leaving.

ind you, I would not attempt to persuade you either way, as it’s not my place to decide; rather I would just like to present the other side of the picture. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that every little thing Georgetown does is magic, I would agree with The Police that “even though my life before was tragic, now I know my love for her goes on.”

Granted, my life was far from tragic, and at the end of the day, for all its shortcomings, there are many worse places to hang your hat than at Georgetown. Nevertheless, the university just came a long way toward changing my opinion of her for the better.

How so? To be honest, it feels more like magic than anything else I can say. Over the summer I received an e-mail from a professor welcoming me to my English class on Man Booker Prize-winning novels, saying it was time to get started on the nearly 2,000 pages of summer reading he assigned. Sounds great so far, I know – I managed to finish five of the six assigned books and couldn’t help but wonder what the upside was to such an enormous amount of work.

On the first day of class, I found out “Hellooo, Children! Everyone put your name in this hat” were more or less the first words from the mouth of Fr. Alvaro Ribeiro, S.J. that day. When we asked what he was up to, he told us that four lucky students would get to accompany him to the Booker Prize awards ceremony, held at Guildhall, the ceremonial and administrative center of London – think the Academy Awards, but for literature, and with a bunch of Commanders of the British Empire, knights and dames instead of airhead Hollywood celebrities.

Guess whose name was drawn out of the hat? Good guess. So this past Saturday, off we went to jolly old England, for a weekend of revelry and elbow-rubbing with alumni and friends, as we attended literary events and posh, invitation-only after-parties in Soho.

For those of you who have never been to London, ’tis a silly place with areas called Bakerloo and Piccadilly, and signs that say “Do Not Take Any Risks” and (my personal favorite) “Award-Winning Pasties!” Its inhabitants use coins that are similar enough in shape and size to confuse them for American coins, but the denominations (not to mention the value given the exchange rate) are completely different, and the prices of items are such that you always accumulate more of the damned coins that you’re trying to get rid of – but no matter.

Despite the dreary weather, the people are warm and inviting (just don’t ask for directions, as they can’t tell you how to get anywhere). We were welcomed into homes, networked with alumni – our delegation was the center of attention everywhere we went. We even got a shout-out in the opening remarks of the awards ceremony, with the aside that prestigious universities like the University of St Andrews and the University of East Anglia were scrambling to play catch-up with Georgetown by offering their own classes on the Booker Prize.

In addition to all this, we attended a book reading by five of the six short-listed authors, and went to dinner with the former executive for Booker, PLC and chairman of the prize. They insisted I play on the king of Spain’s piano and listened intently. We toured a publishing house with two of the authors on the roster, and they were kind enough not only to take our questions but also to give us free copies of their books. Then they put us on their guest list for the after-party at the Groucho Club in Soho, where for a good 45 minutes we proceeded to talk to Simon Mawer, the author our class decided to root for.

We were treated like royalty by complete strangers, and it was terrific. And we didn’t even have to pay for any of it! I’m still stuck with those stupid coins, but honestly, who cares?

The moral of the story: The next time someone asks you, “What’s in a name?” tell them, “a trip to England and a chance to play `Werewolves of London’ on the king of Spain’s piano.” Then watch the expression on their face and enjoy.

I can’t say that I deserved any of these wonderful things. I can only chalk it up to being in the right place at the right time. Here’s to hoping Georgetown is that place for you. And if it’s not, there’s always the Groucho Club.

Colin Nagle is a junior in the College. He can be reached at naglethehoya.com. Getting in Tune appears every other Friday.

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