Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Passing on the Torch to the Next Generation

Remember “Pay It Forward?” It was that semi-popular film released in 2000 starring Haley Joel Osment, the creepy kid from “The Sixth Sense.” The premise of the movie is that an over-involved social studies teacher asks his students to think of some way to change the world and then put that idea into action.

Now I know that you may be thinking that I’m going to launch into a long, impassioned diatribe about how we are the hope of the nation and that we, as a generation of privileged Georgetown students, will one day go on to save the world. Not so. While each of us may one day go on to save the world, that’s not my point.

Trevor, our young protagonist in the movie, decides that the best way to approach the assignment is to change the world by “paying it forward.” Rather than paying back a favor to an individual, Trevor embarks on an ultimately touching quest of goodwill to pay good deeds forward to three new people, and he encourages them to do the same. All those around him benefit from his newfound motto and way of life.

One thing, out of many, that I have loved and admired about Georgetown since the first day I stepped onto this campus is the Georgetown student’s tendency, or rather subconscious obsession with, paying it forward. I’m not talking about the kid who admirably launched his own nongovernmental organization in an attempt to save the world or the girl who made three consecutive community service trips to Africa every summer. Although those endeavors are noteworthy, I’m talking about the little ways Georgetown students decide to “pay it forward,” and the big way they have shaped my college experience.

After graduation, I will begin a two-year teaching stint in rural Mississippi with Teach For America. If you had asked me last year if I’m studying English so I can one day teach, I would have responded that I don’t have the temperament for teaching. Now, as a senior who has chosen the path I once disavowed, I realize that I’m working with a program like Teach For America for a variety of reasons, one of them being my intense desire to pay it forward.

I’ve been lucky to go to a school like Georgetown, where I’ve received a great education and met some lifetime friends. I not only want to pay the Georgetown experience forward to you underclassmen readers, who I hope will have similarly great experiences, but I also want to pay the Georgetown experience outward and influence those who haven’t lived this community firsthand.

Georgetown will follow me wherever I go. It is an indelible part of my persona and it has shaped who I am and how I think about the world. I’ll never forget the interminable walk from Burleith to campus, the subtle scent of Leo’s lingering in your clothes hours after you’ve left the dining hall and even the 3 a.m. treks to Philly Pizza & Grill. I’ll never forget the rush of working a busy shift at The Midnight Mug, the opportunity I had to live and travel in Argentina, the first time I sat in Gaston Hall as a petrified freshman, the late-night talks with friends and the afternoon jogs along the Potomac. I’ll never forget how happy I am to see the top of Healy tower as I approach campus from the Key Bridge or the time I accidentally slipped up and called Georgetown “home” for the first time while talking to my mom on the phone. Most of all, I will never forget the people I met who have enriched my college experience and made me laugh along the way.

Underclassmen, if you’re reading this, I’d like to flatter myself by asking how life at Georgetown can go on without us. But, I know I don’t have to worry too much. Knowing that the class of 2010 is leaving this place in your capable hands comforts me. I’m paying my memories and experiences forward to you. Live and love in Georgetown. It truly is the best four years of your life. Never again will you have the opportunity to live in such a beautiful place with such interesting people.

I wish those of you still here on the Hilltop for any number of years in the future the very best. I’m jealous of you. Cherish Georgetown and this opportunity to grow and learn in D.C. For those of my fellow seniors who are preparing to leave, if you’re ever in the Mississippi Delta region, know that you have a place to stay.

Allison Dale is a senior in the College. She will spend the next two years teaching in Mississippi as part of Teach For America.

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