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

A Georgetown Experience Beyond Words

Elizabeth Whitehorn relaxes on the Esplanade

Overwhelmed. When I received an e-mail telling me that I had to write my senior viewpoint for Tuesday, May 1, I felt completely overwhelmed. I had turned in a draft of my thesis and needed to prepare for the presentation. I had a meeting the next morning, two barbecues to set up and cook for, final papers to think about, phone calls to return and the inevitable thesis revisions to make. Not to mention the underlying uncertainty of anything coming after the immediate future and whatever I could do about that. Amid all the busy hours, I just wanted to sit on Copley Lawn and enjoy my favorite time of year at Georgetown.

When I was younger, my best friend and I shared a secret. We called it the “I love life” feeling. I coined the phrase at summer camp nine years ago when I experienced a wave of pure and complete contentment – happiness – and became aware of that feeling for the first time. Without the words to fully define the feeling, I could not explain myself. I still cannot use language, that is, specific words, to capture the feeling. I have only learned since then that it typifies the word “ineffable.”

Here at Georgetown, it has been those afternoons on Copley Lawn or walking across campus on the first spring day, everyone in shorts and sunglasses, music blasting through Red Square. It was a night of accidental lounging and laughter with my friends freshman year when anything else seemed more exciting and nothing else more appealing. It was a spontaneous drive to the FDR Memorial one spring night to celebrate my first birthday at college. It was trekking across Healy Lawn on the first snow day last winter, watching everyone play like they were in third grade again. It was finding love when I least expected it. It was that sunny afternoon, driving over the Key Bridge into Georgetown for the start of my senior year, knowing that I had come home.

It is a feeling of tranquility and joy, of hope and dreams. You would be happy doing nothing and you know you could do anything. You want to talk to everyone, but instead you laugh inside yourself and smile. Like a child who cannot speak yet.

I came to Georgetown certain of nothing except that I wanted to join the newspaper. Subsequently, working for The Hoya became a defining experience for me – defining as an introduction to the Georgetown community and defining in the lessons I learned not only about journalism but about integrity and friendship. I can count many of those ineffable moments in the late nights I spent in Leavey 421, when computers crashed and rulers were nowhere to be found, when I was first elected as a page editor freshman year, when I laughed more than I thought anyone could at Laffy Taffy jokes and alliterated headlines.

This year, I have had the opportunity to see Georgetown from a perspective other than that of journalist, as a board member of the Senior Class Committee. I thought I had come to know this place so well, but this year I have met classmates I did not previously know who have reminded me of what initially drew me to Georgetown – the energy of the people here, their obvious happiness and enthusiasm. I know that no matter where I go next year, the Georgetown spirit, those ineffable moments we have all shared, will connect me to anyone I meet who has lived on the Hilltop.

I am not Catholic and had never heard the phrase “men and women for others” before coming to Georgetown. Still, after almost four years, the core values of the education I received have resonated with me. I have learned in and out of the classroom, from professors and friends, to reflect upon my actions and my experiences. In these last few weeks of my senior year, reflection has become a daily occurrence. At random times during the day, riding the Leavey elevator or walking through the Village B courtyard, I remember conversations I had two years ago or the party my friends threw in an apartment overlooking O Street. I went to my last elections for The Hoya a week ago and pictured, for a moment, all the people who used to fill up that office. I realized how grateful I am to them for making my experience at Georgetown so deep, my Monday nights so entertaining.

Lately, I have been feeling uneasy. I am happy and sad to have two more days of classes left, looking forward to and dreading graduation. Most of all, I am wondering how I can thank all the people who have made my Georgetown experience so unpredictable and unforgettable, so completely worthwhile. I feel like a child who cannot yet speak. I am completely overwhelmed.

Elizabeth Whitehorn was a features editor, associate editor, at-large member of the board of directors of The Hoya.

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