I was that kid who lived in the library. You all know him; many of you have been that same kid. We’re the ones who occupied Lau before it was cool to sleep in a cold, uncomfortable public place. We’ve knowingly exchanged resigned glances while we ordered quadruple shots of espresso just before the 2 a.m. last call at The Midnight MUG. We’ve worn the bags under our eyes as badges of honor, while complaining to our classmates (but secretly bragging), “Yeah, I didn’t sleep last night.” And worst of all, we’ve convinced ourselves that this prolonged state of sleep deprivation somehow enhances our education at Georgetown.
Take it from a senior and reformed Lau-aholic: Get out of the library, leave your MacBook in your room and then go get a real education, not just the one-dimensional kind you get from reading a textbook through bleary eyes.
Many of you have never pulled an all-nighter and rarely venture into the belly of that blot on the landscape that we Hoyas lovingly call Lau. If that’s you, kudos! You may now move on to the guide‘s Food and Drink section. This article is not about you — it’s about the countless other Georgetown students who are so focused on pure academics that they miss out on everything else that D.C. has to offer.
Like many other Hoyas, I arrived at Georgetown with a certain degree of tunnel vision when it came to academics. Grades mattered, and although I did my fair share of sports and extracurriculars, academics always took priority. As a result, during my freshman and sophomore years, I spent moreall-nighters in the library than I care to admit. Whenever I asked myself why I was crammed into a cubicle studying something I neither cared about nor had any intention of ever applying to real life, I simply told myself that I came to Georgetown to learn, and soldiered on. What I wish I’d realized sooner is that just because you’re going to class and doing your homework doesn’t mean you’re getting as much education as you can out of your time at Georgetown.
Don’t just take my word for it — take Georgetown’s. Jesuit education is based on a philosophy of curapersonalis: educating the whole person. Turns out, St. Ignatius of Loyola wanted you to take time off from studying to go do intramural sports, try out for the play or just go get dinner with your friends. Education isn’t just about reading whatever PDFs your professor uploaded to Blackboard; it’s about experiencing everything around you, whether that’s a fantastic new restaurant you read about in the guide or joining the tourists and heading down to a Smithsonian to take in an IMAX movie. In the words of Mark Twain, “Don’t let learning get in the way of your education.”
That’s why after a couple of backbreaking semesters I decided that I’d had enough. Rather than subjecting myself to more nights in the library, I cut back on my course load and got an internship. Getting off campus for 20 hours a week was a breath of fresh air, and best of all, with internships there are no grades, no homework and no burly officer who comes around at midnight asking for yourGOCard.
So, all you workaholic underclassmen who are reading this on the second floor of Lau, take it from a senior: Don’t wait until your golden years on the Hilltop to break out of the library. It doesn’t matter whether you get an internship like I did, spend your time at Yates or just go read more interesting books. Looking back on college, you’ll never wish you spent more time in the library — so why wait until after graduation to start regretting it?
Take It From a Senior is a rotating, biweekly column written from the viewpoint of graduating seniors. Ben Johnson is a senior in the SFS. He no longer lives in Lauinger Library.