VIEWPOINT: The Moments That Make Us Hoyas

JESUS RODRIGUEZ/THE HOYA

JESUS RODRIGUEZ/THE HOYA

“When did you realize you were a Hoya?” is common question I was asked on the Hilltop — a question which helped me define the precise “moment” I felt I belonged here. This was the moment I felt I was not just a college student anymore, but a part of this community as a Georgetown student.

During my five semesters on the Hilltop, I have struggled to answer this question and pinpoint this “moment.” When I transferred to Georgetown in the spring semester of my sophomore year, in fact, I was far from feeling “at home.” I was scared.

I was scared that my status as a transfer would hinder my ability to find a community — that transferring during spring semester would make it difficult to break into new friend groups and that Georgetown would not be the school I had long dreamed it to be. When my cab pulled up at the corner of 37th and O Streets on Jan. 5, 2015, I did not have the slightest feeling that I was a Hoya or that I had found my way home.

For much of my first semester, I desperately sought out that moment. I attended a number of club information sessions, wrote more applications than I knew I was capable of writing and arguably overcommitted myself in hopes that after getting into clubs on campus, I would have that moment when I would be a Hoya.

Yet what I failed to recognize then was that one moment, one club or even one facet of campus was not what defined me as a Hoya or my Georgetown story. My Georgetown story, in fact, was a reflection of many moments — big and small — that collectively helped me find my home on the Hilltop.

The moments when I ran into past professors and they inquired about my job search showed that as much as they cared for me as a student, they cared for me as an individual, too. During class discussions, I was constantly reminded of the brilliant minds that surrounded me. In the middle of Leo’s, I was often engaged in deep life talks I never knew I could have in a college dining hall. Even during senior year, I found some of my closest friendships. These moments, among others, are the reasons I have found my way home, and they are at the center of how I knew I was a Hoya.

Perhaps it’s for this reason that, even when I was officially finished with my undergraduate classes last week, I did not necessarily feel done: Georgetown has always been more than just classes, papers and assignments for me. Georgetown has been about these moments, which — although they may seem disjointed or incomprehensible at times — have contributed uniquely and meaningfully to my time on the Hilltop.

Four years ago, when I graduated from high school at Iolani School, my teachers told me, “You can take the student out of Iolani, but you can’t take Iolani out of the student.” Four years later, as I prepare for my life outside of Georgetown, these words ring true of my college experience as well. I am comforted to know that even as I venture into another chapter of my life, Georgetown will continue through me and through the people and relationships that made each moment at Georgetown so special. If there is anything my story can attest to, it is the power of this community that — in loving and embracing every part of who I am — helped me, a sophomore spring transfer student from Hawaii, find her home here too.

Surrender to every moment on this campus. Challenge and be challenged, listen, understand and find ways to love. Along the way, there will be moments when you will feel alone, when you will try and you will fail. Embrace and reflect on those moments, too. Many semesters down the line, you will recognize — as I did — how all of these big and small moments contribute to your Georgetown story and are uniquely what makes you a Hoya.

Nicole Lam is a senior in the College.

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One Comment

  1. Enushe Khan says:

    I love you Nicole!

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