Senior Week is keg parties and champagne brunches, last lectures and meeting alumni, a picnic and Senior Ball. Senior Week is my last service to my friends, peers and all seniors as a class and campus community. Senior Week is the time to hand my reins as Senior Class Committee Chairman and New South RHO Manager to the next class. Senior Week is the capstone that marks the end of our time on the Hilltop. I know what Senior Week is, but I still can’t believe it’s finally here.

I started out at Georgetown as an uninvolved freshman. I thought about joining a few organizations but passed up the opportunities in favor of working for residence life. That decision defined my first three years here which were spent in housing: two summers in the main office, two years as a special assistant in another office, a year as an RHO assistant and two more as a manager. Throughout my junior and sophomore years, I was working three jobs and around 50 hours a week. The pay was great, classes clearly came second and I still wasn’t involved in anything else on campus.

Don’t get me wrong — there were some major upsides to this lifestyle. I had great relationships with administrators around campus, I understood how the bureaucracy worked and who to talk to — let’s be real, that’s crucial on this campus, right? And the RHOs have been my family and my best friends. You couldn’t find a more awesome and varied set of people than at my RHO in New South this year. And I couldn’t be happier and more proud as one of them takes the lead in Village C next year.

But at the end of junior year, on a whim, I applied for Senior Class Committee Chairman. That changed everything, and it’s made all the difference in how I’ll view my alma mater. I’ve worked alongside the most amazing board, spent nights serving at keg parties, helped organize Georgetown Day 2013 and just connected with Georgetown. I’ve sat on advisory boards, worked with neighbors and administrators to forge a new community partnership and given my last semester to the Hilltop helping out in any way I could. I’ve had the opportunity to meet many seniors, university administrators, neighbors and staff that have helped me discover what I truly love about the Hilltop: our community.

To this day, I’m shocked at how little I knew about where I had lived and worked the last three years before joining SCC. I try to impress on every freshman I meet how important getting involved on campus can be. Student life is one of the biggest opportunities to engage with and fall in love with Georgetown. Trust me, I didn’t engage at all for three years, and I’m telling you: This is it.

As I hugged all my RHOmies — yes, that’s a thing — goodbye, I thought of how I’ll feel the night of Senior Ball. It’s an event I’ve worked toward for a year of my life. My SCC board and I have lived, breathed, fundraised — and to be honest — drank our way to this night, with the knowledge that it will be our penultimate Georgetown experience. It’s my last opportunity to give back to a place that has been a real home for me. Between the day I arrived as a freshman until the end of junior year, I basically never left Georgetown for more time than winter break. In case that isn’t impressive enough, my time at Georgetown is also the longest I’ve ever lived in one place.

All of this is personal reflection and life story is just my way of showing how much Georgetown means to me, as I’m sure it means as much — or more — to you. It’s a home, a family, a party, a class, a relationship, a paper, a house, an SCC Board, an RHO and a key. We’re connected as a Class of 2013 and as Hoyas for the rest of our lives. And to the Class of 2017 just coming in, you couldn’t have picked a better time to join the Hilltop.

Justin Mercer is a senior in the College, chairman of the Senior Class Committee and “Housing Boy Wonder.”

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