Before You Go and Set the World on Fire ...
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012 20:05
At my freshman floor reunion last week, I revisited my stomping grounds on New South’s fourth floor with Fr. Christopher Steck, S.J., and Jack the Bulldog. The running joke amongst my floormates: That night was the most time I had ever spent on the dorm floor.
I’ve spent the vast majority of the last four years disengaged from the Hilltop. At times I was working almost 40 hours per week at internships in government and at startups, and at others, I spent every second minute awake on the phone with my high school friends on both coasts. I even took a semester off from school and from living on campus. (If you ever have distaste for living in Darnall or Village C East, try Rosslyn for a couple months).
I had not found my home at Georgetown. Freshman fall I ditched New Student Orientation for Denver and weekend parties for battleground states. Like many of us who came here, I was attracted by the idea of being in the nation’s capitol, and as opportunities arose, I believed Lauinger, Healy and Leavey couldn’t satisfy my hunger. It was not until last semester that I had a true change of heart.
James and Derek from my freshman floor invited me to go out with some friends of theirs — acquaintances of mine — and the experience sparked a new desire to befriend and enjoy time with many of our fellow Hoyas.
That’s when I let go of many of my off-campus commitments — working at a startup and on projects for political campaigns and government agencies — and wound down activities and adventures beyond the Hilltop.
Here is just a small sampling of what I discovered by reintegrating into the Georgetown community.
Early in January, I ran into Luke grabbing coffee, and a simple hello turned into a two-hour-long conversation that shifted my perspective on career tracks and led me to reconsider going off the beaten path.
In a weekly capstone dinner in the Copley apartment of Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., I met Maria for the first time. One dinner led to another and to one over Easter weekend down the street. It opened my eyes to someone with talent and character, which otherwise would have been hidden from me in the depths of Gonda Theater.
A three-minute reflection about God that Matt shared in our “Jesuit Education” class captured my attention and allowed me to imagine traveling abroad and laboring in Honduras, something I never could have imagined when we took a Liberal Arts Seminar together our freshman year.
In that time I spent on campus, I met an incredible array of characters and bumped up against some incredible stories and experiences that I could never have found outside the front gates.
Last November, I joined a team of students, alumni, faculty and administrators to help structure and launch a social innovation and public service endowment on campus.
The people I’ve been surrounded by in this project have become my home base — a true community. One of those is my neighbor Bridget, who I had not spent time with since classes freshman year and with whom I could not be more grateful to be working. Greg similarly sat in almost every economics class with me outside of his hours as GUSA Vice President, and yet it took until this project for that time to mature into what I know will be a long-lasting friendship. Beth is one of the most creative people I know, blending talents and interests in women, politics and entrepreneurship; a friend once tried to introduce me to her, but it took until now for us to realize our connection.
In the last three weeks, we recruited and selected a managing committee of seven students and a board of nine Georgetown community members to drive the endeavor forward in the next year. One of those students is Christian, who discovered his interest in carbon financing and is researching energy politics in Haiti this summer.
I have started to realize how much there is to discover in the people around me.
The opportunity to be part of strengthening an institution with this endeavor has provided me with a tremendous experience, one that I hope will catalyze future Hoyas to dabble in their hopes, dreams and creativity — very human feats — that are so much of why we are here on the Hilltop.
At the core of Georgetown’s mission is a commitment to form the humanity in beings. It is a pursuit we often take for granted and fail to engage, even though we are surrounded by it.
It is what Fr. Tim Healy, S.J., was acknowledging when he explained that the accomplishment of a university is whom it brings together.
We are an extraordinary gift to one another, sometimes tucked away in nooks and crannies around campus we don’t always find.
There will always be opportunities calling us into the world. But we should not overlook the ones right beside us, inside our gates, that are inviting us in.
When we spend a few minutes here, we will find Hoyas who once wanted to be astronauts and presidents, who have worked on immigration border policy and launched farmers markets and some who lost a parent on Sept. 11, 2001.