Michelle Xu/The Hoya
MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA

Healy Tower is arresting. At least, every time I pass through the front gates or cross Key Bridge from Rosslyn to return to my home on the Hilltop, I am utterly captivated by its awesome beauty.

This surface-level admiration for the physical landscape of Georgetown is only a fraction of its substance — the arresting sights are mere silhouettes of the soul of my beloved university.

Over four years ago, in one of my admissions essays, I was asked to contemplate how Georgetown would help me accomplish my goals. At the time, I could preemptively enumerate classes and co-curriculars that would give breath to my passions, and I was earnest in my hopes and ambitions. Today, the day before my graduation, I cannot formulate such a distilled picture. Simply put, Georgetown gave me the goal I never dreamt of: It introduced me to myself.

In a carpeted hallway of Copley three, silent tears fell down my cheeks as my brother and I discussed the existence of God one night in the spring of my sophomore year. Georgetown equipped me with the ontological argument of St. Anselm, weekly masses in Dahlgren Chapel and one particular homily by Fr. Ryan Maher, S.J., (COL ’82) to conscientiously combat my older brother’s doubts. Georgetown also gave me the best friend I had met within the first five minutes of New Student Orientation, who kneeled beside me in my sorrow that night and emailed me passages from the Book of Job and C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters” about our imperfect relationships with God to comfort me.

On a crisp autumn day soon after the death of my esteemed English professor, Wayne Knoll, Georgetown gave me a passageway to the National Gallery of Art for a cultural retreat with classmates. My home on the Hilltop — the very heart of the city — coursed itself through Washington, D.C., and reinvigorated me during a time of loss. In March of my junior year, Georgetown entrusted me with a senior honors thesis that would, in part, analyze the poetry of T.S. Eliot and, in total, pay homage to my late professor.

Georgetown gave me the week of spring break that I would spend in Lauinger Library conquering mental fatigue and frustration to reach new levels of personal growth through the completion of this thesis — it activated the philosophy of cura personalis I had written about in that initial essay four years prior.

In the cold winter of mid-February, Georgetown gave me the opportunity to travel with the mock trial team for an unforgettable weekend of competition and camaraderie in Richmond, Va. It gave me the family of friends who would console one another upon receiving news of the tragic accident that took the life of our fellow competitor from Harvard on the drive home from that same tournament. Two months later, my Hilltop home gave our team wings to compete in Orlando, Fla., for the National Championship Tournament that would reunite us with our Crimson friends and allow us to represent our alma mater proudly.

The seasonal tides of my Georgetown experience shed light on both the lows and highs of my undergraduate life. For all of its beauty and grace, Georgetown still testifies to transformational moments when I questioned my own happiness and sense of self. Yet in the midst of these seemingly conflicting forces, I will walk across the stage on Healy Lawn tomorrow morning with complete confidence in the sea of classmates before me and in myself, as well. Ultimately, Georgetown has transformed my morals, faith, aspirations, humor, values and emotions by elevating them to a more purposeful, authentic state. All along, I have been Bebe, but in the duration of my life here, I have experienced a development that brings me back more knowingly to who I am at the core and to whom God created me to be.

In the folding chairs of Verizon Center, the desks of Maguire Hall and the tables at Leo’s, Georgetown has given me an education about the essence of each person and our intrinsic connection to one another. From NSO to Senior Week, it has enriched my life with experiences and friendships that will paint the picture of a profoundly rich and meaningful existence.

From admission to graduation, it has revealed its soul so that I could more fully fill out the contours of my own.

Hoya Saxa. Georgetown, I will love you forever.

Bebe Albornoz is a senior in the College. She is a former president of the Georgetown University Mock Trial Team.

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