MORRIS & WEBER: Burgers, Banter and a Faculty Mentor for Life
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2012 02:10
If you can recall your college tour days, one of the usual major selling points — often shouted as you were herded around a variety of beautiful campuses — focused on the infinite number of dinners you would have with your professors while at that university.
What they don’t tell you on tours is that at Georgetown, you are just as likely to run into a Jesuit professor or administrator at Wisey’s while you are trying to buy a 30-pack of beer for a pregame. But it’s a testament to Georgetown’s collegiate culture that the Jesuits, faculty and staff can handle such encounters with ease — perhaps even chiding you for picking Keystone over Bud Light.
For John, that became particularly apparent over burgers at The Tombs.
One day after a class in the Jesuit Residence, one of my Jesuit professors stopped me by the elevator on my way out of class. Here’s how our conversation unfolded.
“John, what are you doing for dinner tonight?”
“I don’t know, Fr. Curry. I get out of class at 7:45, but I’m free after that.”
“Would you like to go to dinner at The Tombs at 8?”
“Just grabbing a burger” turned into one of the most memorable conversations that I have had in my entire Georgetown career. We talked about what I want to do with my life (these conversations between us still continue on a regular basis today), how I’d ended up at Georgetown and my overall experience here on the Hilltop.
We then spoke of his experience as a Jesuit, his family and how he’d ended up at Georgetown. After dinner, when I was walking home, I was struck by something: Here was a Jesuit with a ton on his plate, yet he had taken the time to specifically go out of his way to inquire about my life and to give me advice.
Advice and conversations like that one don’t need to be between you and your adviser or your current professors. Heck, they don’t even need to be a member of the department in which you want to major or minor. One of the advantages of our liberal arts core means you’ll be exposed to a variety of experts whose focus may be nothing that you ever thought you would find interesting.
While these classes might provide a formal setting for you to get to know professors, office hours or coffee in Midnight Mug can lead to a much more individualized conversation. You may end up hashing out your team allegiances in this crazy playoff race, talking over the changes from Vatican II implemented in Dahlgren or perhaps hearing about an upcoming Alternative Spring Break that one is leading.
Like that dinner with Fr. Curry, a simple chat can turn into a regular dinner in which you discuss everything that’s going on with both of your lives. It’s one of the greatest things we do here at Georgetown simply because it provides us with an opportunity to clear our heads. Too often we get caught up in midterms anxiety or the weekend pandemonium and forget to stop and ask ourselves about what we are actually learning on the Hilltop.
Georgetown’s faculty members can provide you with that guidance when they ask you the hard questions. Heartfelt chats over where your college career is headed and what you want out of this experience are discussions you can’t avoid when it’s just you and your professor at The Tombs.
A catchy point in a pamphlet at other schools can come alive here when you’re hand-delivered an invitation to your adviser’s Nancy Drew-themed retirement party in Riggs or given the chance to chat over barbeque and homemade potato salad at a dean’s house.
Faculty mentors like these remind us that we students aren’t the only ones that live and work on this campus. And we definitely are not the only ones that care about our peers.
Lauren Weber is a senior in the College. She is chair of the Board of Directors for The Hoya. John Morris is a senior in the College. He is chair of the Board of Directors for Students of Georgetown, Inc. TO OUR FRESHMAN SELVES appears every other Friday.