I was never supposed to come to Georgetown. My first thin letter moment — the one where your high school senior heart skips a beat and you dream of moving into Darnall Hall in a Georgetown T-shirt — ended in a rejection letter thanking me for my application and wishing me the best in my future academic endeavors. The next year, after submitting an application to transfer from Babson College, a small business school outside of Boston, I wholeheartedly expected a repeat.
I applied and committed to transfer to a different school, and put my thoughts of life on the Hilltop in the rearview mirror. When I got an email from Georgetown congratulating me on my acceptance while leaving the transfer orientation program at the other school, I was so shocked that I dropped my phone and shattered the screen. At first, I was convinced it was a mistake.
I was still sure that Georgetown’s transfer admissions committee had made a mistake when my family and I drove down the Clara Barton for move-in and I realized I had not taken a tour. The feeling only amplified throughout New Student Orientation, when I met other new students who seemed to fit seamlessly into a Jack Hoya mold. After I walked out of my first accounting class, I called my dad in tears, telling him I did not belong here.
As a transfer student, I could not make heads or tails out of Georgetown’s application-based club culture, and my Babson friends alternated between laughing and crying when I told them students had to apply and interview for the privilege of walking Jack the Bulldog. I felt like a freshman all over again. I had been happy at Babson and I found myself missing my friends and life there. Georgetown felt like a mistake until the end of my second semester, when I walked into a room full of strangers who sang the fight song obsessively and seemed to love “showing us how to NSO.”
I found glimmers of my Georgetown in the Intercultural Center auditorium that summer, amid matching orientation adviser shirts and late-night Domino’s. I did not know a single person in the program when I had applied, but left my OA experience feeling like I maybe had a chance here. When I was offered a spot as a coordinator for NSO 2015, I was pretty sure that had been a mistake, too. I still introduced myself as a transfer first and Hoya second. I still had never set foot in a first-year residence hall. I was a total imposter, preaching the best of Georgetown while not knowing what Brown House was or why it mattered.
Yet I found my home in NSO. I found the four best friends I could ever imagine, four people I never would have picked for myself, but in hindsight, fit perfectly together as my Hilltop family. They helped me shape my Georgetown through more late nights, early mornings and extensive staff meetings than any five people should have to endure. They introduced me to a Georgetown I could really like.
My first real Hoya moment, the one where I felt like I belonged here, did not happen until September of my junior year during a break in our NSO staff training, where I sat in the ICC auditorium and blasted music completely alone. One of my fellow coordinators came in, confused why I was half crying and half laughing. That is the moment when I became a Hoya: sleep deprived and in the middle of handling one crisis after another, but with the knowledge that I could do anything and I had the people to back me up.
My Georgetown is ultimately a story of the moments when I doubted if I belonged here and then proved myself wrong. Georgetown is not a place that can be handed to you with an admissions letter or a convocation ceremony. You have to earn it. To get the most out of it, to claim that you belong here, is to accept that we expect the very best from each and every Hoya. Ultimately we expect each Hoya will leave this place and do spectacular things to change the world. I earned my three years here, and I am a completely intimidated about what will happen after I cross the stage on Healy Lawn.
Because I am stubborn, I know it will be OK. But because I am a Hoya, I know it will be remarkable.
Bridget Morton is a senior in the McDonough School of Business.