Students walking in and out of Lauinger Library each night pass the familiar face of Patricia Watkins, an Access Controller in the Department of Public Safety and perhaps one of the most familiar faces on campus. Watkins, a Jamaica native, assiduously stands post at the guard’s desk at the front of the library, singing and chatting while checking GOCARDs and signing in visitors. In an interview with THE HOYA, Watkins talks about growing up in Jamaica, her favorite parts of the job and her thoughts about Lauinger’s distinctive architecture.

How long have you been working for the Department of Public Safety?

Thirty years. Three-zero.

What has made you stick around all these years? What do you like about the job?

I like people, I enjoy working here, you know. It’s been fun with the kids. We have some rude ones, we have some good ones, but overall, they’re just marvelous people.

Did you grow up in the area?

No, I’m from Jamaica. I grew up in a little place called St. Catherine, but you know, you travel all over the country. I lived in Montego Bay, I lived in Kingston.

What impressions do you get from the Georgetown students that walk through that door?

Well I’ve always loved young people all my life. I love people. When you work in an environment like this, you learn lots of different things because you have different nationalities, and you get to understand different cultures and different people. You get to talk to them, and you get to understand them, which is very interesting. They also get to understand, hopefully. But I just love to see any of the people. They come here to study. They study hard, work hard and do something positive with their lives, and that makes me happy.

I often hear you singing while you’re here. Why is that?

It’s very soothing. It’s very comforting. It’s a joy. I like to communicate with nature, I like nature and I love spirituality. I don’t really help these people with their lives, but I like talking to people if they’ll listen. I like encouraging people to do something positive and to help each other if they possibly can. You know, if someone does something nice for you, you try to pass it on to someone else. Because life is very short, we should use whatever abilities we have. Instead of holding a grudge and hating people, we need to do something positive with it.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?

Besides shopping? Talking to people. I mean I just talk, talk all the time. I like to talk to people, I like interesting people. I like to encourage these young people here to work hard and do the best they can and get the best out of this school. Because they’re not here for fun, they’re here for a future, and they should not let it go. They should get the very best they can, just don’t settle for anything – get the best they can. Georgetown is a great school; it’s an expensive school, but you can get great things from here. That’s very important to me. I don’t like to see the kids relaxed and lazy. You know, sometimes I hear, “Oh, if I get a D, it’s a passing grade,” and then sometimes I try to talk to them and say, “No, no, no, that’s not accepted. Do the very best you can.”

What do you like about the campus?

It’s a good campus. It’s a lovely place. You have lovely faculty, lovely young people. And I think it’s my greatest joy. I just met one of my students that has been gone for 10 years. There are people who come right back through the door and say, “Pat, we just stopped to see if you were still here.” That makes my day.

What do you think of the architecture of this building that you’ve been working in for so long?

Well I can tell you the remarks I hear people say. You know I never really think about that, but then you hear people say, `It’s such an ugly building!’ The people I work with here are great, and I never really think about stuff like that really. It’s really the inside of the building that counts. The way it’s built, or it’s picture, or the looks of it, I don’t know. . Things like that don’t really bother me because you come inside the building, and it looks great. It looks so much different than the outside. All they have to do is just turn around and look. It’s a beautiful building; inside it’s beautiful. Just look around. . It’s gorgeous.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen over the years?

You know, after you’re here for a long time, you see so many different things that you just kind of let it slide off your mind, but there have been little things happening here and there that make you wonder. Nothing special. It’s a public building. You have people coming in and out, and they have different reactions to different things. For instance, some of the things they don’t like. As you can see this is quite a busy place.

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