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

Finding the Place for FOMO at Georgetown

College life is different for everyone, but one aspect is common for most: four years of adjusting to a new environment. But for a plurality of us, the difficult process of forging new relationships, reacquainting ourselves to our new setting and understanding where we fit in the bigger picture is a constant reminder of what we need to accomplish and makes it even more difficult. For some of us, it is four years of getting used to not being used to anything.

Many opportunities arise that draw students away from a campus. There are those who take chances to study abroad, those who arrive at Georgetown as transfer students and those who need to take a semester off. Summarily, a significant number are left excluded from a fully contiguous Georgetown experience.

Parallel to this variation in one’s Georgetown experience is a difference in one’s Georgetown perception. My time as a first year spent at the University of Hawai’i gave rise to an appreciation of an efficient, knowledgeable and caring bureaucracy, or lack thereof. Spending a semester abroad in Japan exemplified the stark divide between a politically active campus and a politically indifferent one.

And yet for me, even missing a single Georgetown Day or a failure to attend any of the high-profile speakers on campus begets a concentrated “fear of missing out.” But perhaps that is all it is, for Georgetown is not so easily condensed into a set of core classes, cliques or events.

It is arguable, though, that an individual’s duration truncated from the maximum four years may yield an abbreviated understanding of what it means to be a student at the Hilltop. Divorced from the Georgetown culture, one can only growapart from it. Furthermore, the university as an institution maintains the notion that there is something essential and formative to the branded “Georgetown experience.” But what, exactly, is it about having a full “experience?”

To even presume that there is an inherent centrality to the Georgetown experience necessitates that some activities are more constitutive than others. While some tracks may be more common, the Georgetown experience is a conglomeration of these myriad experiences, not an average, and made whole only by the sum of its parts.

If college is four years of getting used to new environments, then it becomes obligatory that the experience is varied and stimulating, and that we as students must in some way add to it. By thislogic, those who leave the Hilltop and return with something new become essential complements to the rest who stay and preserve the status quo.

It is here that we see both continuity and change enhancing the university. In how we grow and incorporate new ideas, we also see what endures.

But then why all the FOMO? For me, exposure to “Georgetown culture” has been an exposure to the mean, which is to ignore and exclude any outlying experiences, instead of accounting for them. And yet, for every portrayal of the general experience as average or mundane, there are just as many who see it as idyllic and essential. But is it essential for everyone to study government, just because we live in the nation’s capital? Is it compulsory to reap the maximum benefits that this place can offer, just because we can?

To feel uneasy by omitting a portion of the possible four years at Georgetown is an internal pressure, not an external one, and it is a natural compulsion. We are all pulled in the direction of our desires, as some of us want to graduate as fast as we can, while others cannot imagine spending time anywhere else. Some pour their ambition into depth, and others find interest in a diverse breadth.

That distinction is up to you. The onus of creating the Georgetown experience has and will continue to fall on the individual Georgetown student. No matter the dilemma of FOMO — we will all miss out on something here. Do not be afraid to change, and do not feel obliged to do so either. Just choose wisely, and always choose for yourself.

Celeste Chisholm is a senior in the College. She is a member of The Hoya’s editorial board.

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