Friends Sweeten the Experience

By Ann Lawrence

By nature, I’m a goal-oriented person. In high school, my mind always looked to the future – to college and what I would be when I grew up. So as an incoming freshman to Georgetown, all sorts of plans floated through my head as to the great internships I could get. Though a couple years prior I had thought about pursuing a career in journalism, by high school graduation a book by James Carville and Mary Matalin had convinced me I wanted to be a political consultant. I came to Georgetown sure that I would be able to learn so much about the world – about politics, theology and everything in between. So, with that in my mind a few months after my arrival on campus, I set off for Capitol Hill.

Three internships and four years later, I have a slightly different perspective. Yeah, I got my photo op with my congressman and learned what happens to that “bill, just sittin’ on Capitol Hill,” but not much else. Well, unless you count the time a constituent called to tell me who really killed O.J.’s wife.

And after eight semesters, I can honestly say I do know more about the world than I did as an 18-year-old. But more importantly, these past four years have taught me more about myself than I ever could have imagined.

As a junior, Fr. Pilarz taught me how to analyze poetry. But more than analysis, what I took out of that class was my newfound love for the works of John Donne. A year and a half later poetry’s rules can still confuse me, but Donne remains my favorite poet.

But for eight semesters, I’ve gone to my classes at their scheduled times (well, more often than not, anyway), done the required work, taken the final exam and afterwards not always been sure exactly what I learned. Instead, most of my life lessons came from spontaneous road trips and all-nighters at The Hoya.

One Friday night during sophomore year, for example, I started off at a happy hour near GW, and eight hours later, me and six friends were gambling the night away in Atlantic City only to arrive back in D.C. at noon the next day. Lesson learned: Six people can fit in a five-person car for five or six hours without killing each other . barely.

Then, from my stint as editor in chief of The Hoya last semester, I learned some of my most important lessons. Pulling all-nighters twice a week tends to help you prioritize – well, that or kill you. And had I not loved my job and the people I worked with, that semester without sleep would have done me in. But instead, it helped me rediscover what I loved about the newspaper business and how much I cherished working with my team of editors, reporters and photographers.

Many of the friendships I’ve forged over the last four years have originated from the fourth floor of Leavey, while some started on the fifth floor of Village C East. Still others happened with a chance meeting in a class or through a friend of a friend of a friend. But however they got their start, they’ve all helped me to change and grow along the way.

People ask me all the time what I will miss most about Georgetown when I graduate. It’s been hard to narrow it down to a single thing, but in writing this viewpoint I’ve come to realize what that thing is. Next year, when I’m struggling to find my place in the journalism world, I’ll miss the support system that is my friends here. That truly is the best part of college – knowing that no matter what time of day it is there is always someone to call or visit to share my news, good or bad. That’s what has made Georgetown my true home.

So, with that, it’s time for me to thank some of the people here who have made my Georgetown experience for me:

To my roommates (Kris, Lindsay, Meg and Elena) for putting up with my weird sleeping habits and giving me the advice I needed (even if I didn’t want it at the time).

To the staff at The Hoya for giving an ex-Independent a second chance. I loved every minute I was up there. Thanks for letting me lead you.

To Miranda for being my “soulmate.”

To Jeff for being like a brother to me. Your guidance and your jokes have helped keep me sane.

And to Mark for slurpees, “reserves” and Top Gun. You’ve stuck with me through it all and seen me through so many crises. Whatever happens next year, I know that I am better and stronger (and more sarcastic) for having known you.

Ann Lawrence is a former editor in chief, managing editor, contributing editor and sports editor for The Hoya.

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