Every graduating class finds something to bond its members-a memory that dominates conversation at senior retreats and class reunions. Usually it happens toward junior or senior year, once everybody has established themselves.
The two-month point of freshman year more or less marks the end of social fumbling and the beginning of true friendships, at least that was the case for Harbin Hall, my home this year.
I live on the eighth floor. Around 3 a.m. last Friday, I was finishing off a routine freshman Friday night with sloppy emotions and looming Monday midterms. In the common room, a boy finished chemistry homework to the tune of his roommate’s guitar. Through goops of Colgate, two friends and I laughed at our experiences during the night. It was a 3 a.m. of suspended reality, one that could only happen in college.
Three hours later our suspended reality was flipped on its head with a perfectly timed disaster.
“This is an evacuation. You must leave immediately. Grab your jacket, shoes and your phone.” I asked why, and the officer replied: “I am not at liberty to say.”
Directed to the Leavey Center, we walked in what felt like a numb panic. Nobody knew what was going on. Why was only Harbin being evacuated? Why couldn’t they tell us?
Leavey began looking like an airport; sweatpants and tired faces amassed. Many residents looked out the windows to see if Harbin would explode. The building was attracting fire trucks like a magnet.
By 8 a.m. we heard the rumors that there was a meth lab on the ninth floor. Most people were shocked. Yes, cases of marijuana occur, as they do in any school, and alcohol consumption is a given. However, serious drugs have not been prevalent in Harbin Hall or anywhere else on campus. Personally, I have never been asked to do any kind of hard drug here. Most parties have alcohol. Few have marijuana. None, that I have been to or heard of, have serious drugs.
This fact is relatively unique of Georgetown. Many Ivy League schools are notorious for marijuana usage, and most Georgetown students who have visited Ivy campuses may attest to the noticeable difference in drug popularity. It is this reason that allows Georgetown to trust its students, and what makes this past Saturday’s events so out of the ordinary. Though I’m only a freshman, the attachment I have gained to this school truly makes me lament its new undeserved reputation.
Sadly, a few have requested their final grades in order to transfer from Georgetown. Some Harbin residents have asked to be moved to a different dormitory.
I wonder if those students remember the sunrise together that morning. Or how we transformed Leavey into a giant living room, with pillows and sweatpants galore. How by 11 a.m. we dotted Lauinger Library with undercoats as makeshift blankets. Or how at Leo’s, everybody recognized us: the disheveled pajama people finding comfort in a free Leo’s meal and tea from Midnight Mug.
At 6:30 p.m., 12 hours later, we learned we could go back to our rooms. Shouts of joy reverberated through the staircases and songs rang through the showers. My sheets had never felt so comfortable.
Before I came to college, my older friends always advised me to keep my door open to make friends. When I got to Georgetown, it seemed that this practice wasn’t too common, so I naturally followed suit and kept my door shut. About a week ago, I remember getting up specifically for the purpose of closing it.
Around 8 p.m. on Saturday my door was wide open, and people returning from their showers or the laundry room stopped to say hello. I’d become good friends with people from my floor who had just been familiar faces 12 hours before. The inexplicable day united us in a way that nothing else could.
To those people seeking to move out or transfer, I say this: Reconsider.
This incident should bring us together and prove that this is not what Georgetown is really about. A DMT lab in a freshman dorm? It sounds like that memory we’ll all be recalling at reunions with laughs, smiles, and shaking heads, not something to hold us back from an education and experience that we couldn’t get anywhere else.
Masha Goncharova is a freshman in the College.