When Strategy Fails, a Search for Different Options

By Karen Travers

If things had worked out for me four years ago the way I had planned, I would be getting ready to graduate from the University of Virginia.

I had my heart set on becoming a Wahoo since the eighth grade, so getting those rejection letters (yep, letters, plural. I got rejected not once but twice by those Southern aristocrats.) put me in a tailspin. The deposit was sent to Boston College, but I was not satisfied.

But another letter came in the mail. I had been accepted off the waiting list for Georgetown, and I went from one Big East Jesuit school to another.

I have always had a clear idea of what I would like to do and what I would like to become. Most people chalk up their experiences to luck and random chance. The difference between them and me is that I did have specific plans as to how college would pan out.

It just didn’t happen that way.

If things had worked out for me three years ago the way I had planned, I would still be on the crew team, waking up at 5:30 a.m. and dragging myself down to the boathouse. But mono put an end to that. Instead, I was still awake at 5:30 a.m. from a night spent at The Hoya, screwing around with Flynn and Matt Gaertner (‘such a lava place, such a lava place.’)

Without the distraction of crew, I was lured onto Capitol Hill by my future roommate Carly Minner. I began as a peon in a congressional office, with hopes of becoming a mover and shaker on the Hill. Well, I learned quickly how things really work. And back to stuffing envelopes it was for me.

If things had worked out for me two years ago the way I had planned, I would have been the greatest assistant sports editor The Hoya had ever seen. Instead, I ran for the editorial board and started to spend more and more time with a certain shady character named Jonah Nolan. Nights at The Hoya suddenly turned into mornings. From Martin Sexton to Skeeball, I don’t regret a single minute.

If things had worked out for me a year and a half ago the way I had planned, I would never have lost my fake ID (for the third time). What seemed to be the worst thing in the world at the time was a blessing in disguise. If I still had that damn Arizona license that was lost somewhere in the depths of the Chadwick’s dance floor, I doubt I ever would have become editor in chief of The Hoya, the most rewarding experience I had at Georgetown.

Now looking back, I can truly say that things could not have worked out any better for me even if I had planned it. I have had experiences that some people can only dream of and have developed relationships and friendships that many people never find.

I met some of my best friends because I started out hating them. I met them in the cafeteria in my pajamas, at floor meetings freshman year, at Winston’s when I was throwing up and even at The Hoya because I was making fun of them and calling them the wrong name.

I lived with the six most random people over the course of my four years at Georgetown. I got to go to my first biker bar. I ran a newspaper and still managed to waste more time than any human being could ever imagine. I got to see Georgetown from the roof of White Gravenor. I saw the sun rise over the Washington Monument from the Potomac River more times than I care to remember.

I went from a freshman who was only concerned with who was bartending at Champs on Thursday nights to someone who spent the start of the Georgetown weekend holed up in a suffocating office singing Matchbox 20 and Faith Hill, which evolved into Black 47 and the Backstreet Boys. If you can call that evolving.

I interned on Capitol Hill during the impeachment. I split my head open in front of Ted Koppel and then went on to work for ABC News. I lost the Sprite Salary Cap game for an entire semester. I donned the Jack the Bulldog costume for Hoya sports events.

I sat in the press box at the 1999 Men’s Lacrosse NCAA Final Four. In a weak moment, I took a cab from Chicago to South Bend, Indiana, for a lacrosse game. I learned how to speak Irish – and found out it is not just English with a brogue.

While I may not have spent as much time as I could have in Village B 79, Village A C205 or at 3635 R St., I always knew that when I came home, my roommates were there for me – even if they humored me all these years, listening to my oh-so-dramatic stories about sweatshops, lacrosse players, the WWF or the kids up at The Hoya. My attention span may be short but luckily, their patience wasn’t.

Thanks Carly, Stanitz, Kathleen, Shannon, Katie and Little Jen – the memories will last longer than any sleepless night during midterms ever could. I can’t wait until they come calling to interview you guys for my VH1 Behind the Music or A&E Biography. Please, be kind.

To those who haven’t had the privilege of living with me (at least not officially), but were important characters no doubt, it’s been a blast. Ian, Timmy Llew, Flynn, DeMar, Jonah, Peter and Ryan – I’ve learned more from you guys than any class could have ever taught me.

And, where could I possibly be without the Travers family? The family that gets mentioned in thank you boxes throughout The Hoya every semester (or maybe that was just the Fun Room …). Mom, Dad, John, Katie, Ryan and Aunt Kathleen – thanks for the support.

If things had worked out for me the way I had planned, I would have become interested in one thing and stuck with it all four years at Georgetown. Instead, I received the most eye-opening education about life that could fulfill anyone’s hopes.

Karen Travers is a former editor in chief, sports editor, associate editor and member of the editorial board and board of directors for The Hoya.

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