Sometimes, after spending too many months on the Hilltop, we get caught up in the daily routine of being students, interns and 20-somethings. And the fast-paced life that comes along with these obligations doesn’t often leave time for meaningful rumination. In other words, we lose perspective. And sometimes we forget why we came here. Sometimes we forget why we chose Georgetown.Some students will say they came to save the world. When in high school, the mere thought of intolerance or injustice anywhere made their skin crawl. They imagined that, somewhere between Healy’s spires and the Capitol’s columns, there existed a solution to those problems and came to Washington, D.C., to find it.

These Hoyas want to grow up to be teachers and work in developing countries, doing the unglamorous job of building new generations and institutions, needing only to be rewarded by knowledge of a job well-done. But it’s easy for such plans to fall into the realm of idealistic pipe-dreams, and four years of classes and parties have a way of leading even the most disciplined and caring minds astray. distracting one from their his or her convictions.

Others came here for the money. A high-paying or high-powered job satisfies many of the most basic American desires – among them the acquisition of wealth and status. Judging by the overwhelming presence of investment banks and consulting firms at Georgetown’s career fairs, it seems that the university feels there’s no calling nobler than the vocation of finance.

And that’s okay. It would be wrong to say that, in all cases, such desires are greedy. Many students have altruistic reasons for wanting to dominate the Wall Street jungle. They sincerely (and probably correctly) feel that the only way to effect noticeable changes in the world is to first achieve noticeable prominence. In that way, one can apply and assert a force capable of coercing change.

Then there are those who still don’t know why they came to Georgetown. Or, at least they don’t know where they’re going afterwards. Deans call them “undeclared.” Employers may call them undesirable. But perhaps they’re just underestimated. A journey can be as rewarding as actually reaching a goal, and some of us will do well to saunter along without any particular destination.

Regardless of what path we take in college, somewhere along the way we get to Thanksgiving.

After all, college was meant for breaks like these.

A trip home, even if only for a couple of days, is a student’s chance to re-calibrate and gain perspective. It’s a chance to be reminded how we felt before we came to school by all those things that shaped our lives before we left home: friends, ex-friends, high school hangouts and teenage hijinks. You remember all the conversations which led you to Georgetown, even the ones you’d rather forget.

But most of all, home means family.

Way back in 1919, buried in an issue of the now-defunct THE HOYA HILLTOPPER, Georgetown’s earlier student newspaper, from 1920, an opinion writer suggested ways for students to convince skeptical parents that they had actually been going to college. “Use Latin words whenever possible, big words and have a couple of Latin expressions to shoot over at every opportunity,” he said, adding that and it helps to refer to things like the “Quad” and your “Roomieroomie.” If you don’t, serious doubts may be raised about how you’ve been spending your time.

Sometimes your family will look to see that college has had a recognizable effect on you for proof that the college process works. They may expect to see that you actually changed as a result of your studies. Going home and coming into contact with the world we once knew gives us an opportunity to see if we really did.

The Greeks had a proverb over the temple at Delphi for just this type of occasion: “Know thyself.” It was a prerequisite that had to be reached before for anyone who could ever really hoped to achieve much else. Once you know your purpose, your path becomes much clearer.

College is a confusing time. At Georgetown, almost every Hoya wants to change the world, but the distractions of campus life can sometimes work to make us forget why. Whether we’re going home for Thanksgiving or just taking a break here on campus, we should make the most of our respite from the flurry of immediately pressing tasks in order to reflect on why we came here in the first place.

Happy Thanksgiving, Georgetown.

D. Pierce Nixon is a senior in the college. He can be contacted at nixonthehoya.com. DAYS ON THE HILLTOP is printed every other Tuesday.

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