Four years after they began their Georgetown careers with New Student Orientation, seniors in the class of 2011 are participating in another whirlwind week of university-sponsored activities.
Senior Week is a chance for seniors to celebrate on the Hilltop one last time before graduation. It is also the time to say farewell to the university life that has, for most, become second nature.
Andrew Zhen (MSB ’11) described the conflicting emotions that the week can inspire.
“It’s fun hanging out with your friends and having no more academic responsibilities, but you also know that this is all about to end at the end of the week,” he said.
Zhen added that he has made an effort to focus on the positive.
“I’ve learned to live in the moment and take advantage of the time we have now. Sure, we’re going to graduate in a few days, but it’s important to enjoy and make the most out of each and every day leading up to ‘the end.'”
The fast-paced nature of Senior Week, which is packed with day trips, bar crawls and last chance lectures, may also keep many seniors from feeling too anxious about their imminent graduation. The seven-day marathon of activities began last Saturday with an excursion to Ocean City, Md., a trip to the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl and the Senior Retreat.
From there, the week charged forward with keg parties, a scavenger hunt, ice cream socials and other class bonding events. Some of the week’s festivities have become traditions, tales of which are passed down to each graduating class.
Bill Nelson (COL ’11) cited one of the most popular Senior Week events as the one he was most excited about,
“I’m particularly looking forward to the President’s Picnic. All of the alumni I’ve spoken with say it’s a highlight every year,” he said.
For Alex Peterson (COL ’11), the inclusion of America’s pastime in the schedule made his senior week. He pointed to the Washington Nationals game as his favorite event.
“I really enjoyed the baseball game, as it was an opportunity to enjoy good food and good company while watching two mediocre teams compete. I wanted to see the Nationals play before leaving D.C., and Georgetown let me check off that item from the bucket list while getting in some last goodbyes too.”
Saying farewell has been a major theme for many seniors during this period. For some, those goodbyes include not only close friends, but also the professors and administrators who have shaped their life at Georgetown intellectually.
“I attended Fr. Maher’s last chance lecture yesterday, and he gave a great talk sharing his perspective on Georgetown, graduation and life … [He] closed by recommending that we find just a few people around campus this week, and tell them ‘I love you,’ ‘I’m sorry,’ or ‘thank you.'” Brian Miller (COL ’11) recalled. “So, over the next few days, as I see the people who have defined my Georgetown experience, I’m going to try to follow his advice,” Brian Miller (COL ’11) said.
Peterson also emphasized the importance of capitalizing on this last opportunity to bond with those who have been most important during his career at Georgetown.
“I’ve spent most of my time seeing those closest to me for one last time, but it’s amazing how many connections and bonds one can make in these few years,” he said. “I’m fine with missing a fun event or even a famous speaker, but I wouldn’t give up the chance to spend a few final minutes with my loved ones for all the world.”
For some, Senior Week will also represent their heritage. Students who have been involved in and have advanced the interests of the Asian community while at Georgetown will be honored today in an inaugural commencement ceremony. The ceremony will precede the Harambee Graduation, which recognizes the achievements of African American seniors, and follow Despedida, which honors the students who have contributed to the Latino community.
Chris Kinney (COL ’11), who has been involved with the Japan Network on campus and who will be attending the ceremony, spoke of the importance of beginning the tradition of Asian Graduation.