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

AMENDOEIRA: Unveil NYC’s Magnetism


“It sucks! If I tripped and fell in that city, no one would care!”

“And isn’t that great? You could trip and fall and NO ONE WOULD CARE!” 

Living with five international girls means constantly seeing the United States with fresh eyes. When I asked them to stop their work for a second to come sit around the couch with me last Tuesday, I needed their help. Their task was simple: Talk to me about New York City.

For my friend Chloe, New York was a disappointment, vastly different from the romanticized version that had been sold throughout her childhood in the package of Gossip Girl or Friends. The subway was incredibly stressful, people were unfriendly and rude and walking down the street was an exercise of continuous purse-clutching and people-dodging. 

“That might all be true,” Lola replied, “but that doesn’t change the feeling I get every time I go to that city. Whenever I step foot in New York, I’m wowed like it’s the first time.”

Whereas Chloe approached New York with a pragmatic consciousness that made its rough edges more salient, Lola smoothed those out by recognizing New York in its deeper sense. When in the city, she thought not of the flawed city around her, but of the life and energy bursting through it — the mythic place where people magically reconstruct themselves, and where true happiness, fame and fortune lies not in the present, but in the million possibilities of the future.

I’ve started to think that in New York, everyone can be anyone. But that necessarily means a degree of neglect — of being ignored by all of those around us in our day-to-day lives — which, for some of my friends, is too high a price to pay. 

Despite their differences in perception, my friends seemed to agree on one thing — after Georgetown, they wanted to be in New York, regardless of how they felt about it. This puzzled me. Many of these girls grew up in places which couldn’t be more different from New York — the beaches of Mallorca, the mountains of Lebanon, the countryside of England — and some of them even recognized that this divergence in upbringing would probably prevent them from ever being happy in that city. 

And yet, it still pulls them in. Why? 

Part of it, I think, is explained by the insatiable appetite for success which is both sought after and nurtured at Georgetown. After four years of straight A’s, working internships and applying to finance clubs with four-stage interview processes, the only logical next challenge is New York — a place where the possibility for accomplishment becomes once again endless, where the idea of excellence has potential to reach new heights.

Georgetown pulls us, for better or worse, into a melting pot of workaholism and idolization of our own American dreams, often at the expense of our happiness and pleasure. I think the question is this: Can the energy and lore of the city make up for the hit our mental health and lifestyle could take from living in it? Can all the fun moments with our best friends on the Hilltop make up for the high academic pressure and grueling finals seasons? In other words, can we ignore all the dirt and grime that Chloe sees simply by thinking in the broader sense, like Lola?

I think it’s pretty encouraging that five girls harbor such strong sentiments for a city they have always watched from the outside, just like it is pretty encouraging that we are all still in the Georgetown rat race, having those tough and challenging moments but leaning on each other to get through them. There is something about Georgetown. And there must be something about living in New York, or else we wouldn’t spend our Tuesday night sitting around our couch discussing it. 

Claudia Amendoeira is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. This is the second installment of her column “We Are Not in Kansas Anymore: Life in America Through the Eyes of an International Student.”

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