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

Cura Personalis Means Living in the Present

From that momentous occasion of New Student Convocation to students’ last hallowed steps as undergraduates during Senior Commencement, Georgetown has managed to immortalize its Jesuit ideals, at least in the form of speech. But what of the ensuing years, between entering Georgetown and leaving it? In the mad rush for the make-or-break internship at McKinsey, the research grant from Brookings Institute and the coveted “A” in economics, is the commitment towards educating the whole person actually visible? Or are we simply reaching blindly for goals that promise future satisfaction, with little regard for our present reality?

By questioning the nature of our education, I don’t wish to argue that Georgetown students aren’t good people. In fact, I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the most extraordinarily empathetic, hard-working and intelligent individuals in the past two years. As a campus with an undeniably global outlook, we are constantly attempting to better our environments. By focusing on an education that values community service, financial planning and intercultural awareness, amongst a myriad of other goals, we are hoping to ensure a future of greater opportunities for all. Yet, how often do we remember to stop and smell the now, the clichéd roses we have worked so hard to plant? In an attempt to accomplish everything that is “needed” to create our idyllic futures, our ability to address the numerous imbalances this inherently causes is diminished.

All my life, college has been an idealized image: four years of memories with friends who would remain with me for the rest of my life. Now, as an upperclassman, my naïveté has passed and I’ve let this picture float to the ground, to lie alongside the now-withered remains of childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut. There is no necessity for this reality to exist, and it’s frustrating to find that students don’t appear to realize what’s missing. As these have been my own experiences with the portion of Georgetown students I have interacted with, I am hopeful this is only because my experiences do not represent the overwhelming reality.

Nor is it to say that I haven’t made lifelong friends here. But many memories of them will remain confined to the library, classes, Leo’s and on the off-days, Leavey. How often do we find ourselves leaving a late-night study group in Lauinger laughingly saying, “Okay, so can we be friends in life?” to someone we may never speak to again until necessity dictates? Don’t get me wrong. It’s not because we don’t like them, because we really, really do. It’s only because we’re busy and don’t have time to meet up.

Reality check: Everyone is busy and it’s not about to get any easier. Most students at this stage in their lives have more time now than they will have in the future. To an outsider, however, Georgetown students already appear to have taken on the semblances of their future selves. Responding to e-mails takes the place of normal human interactions, with technology successfully placing another layer of bureaucracy on our day-to-day relationships, under the guise of more convenient communication.

And for those of us who are as busy now as we will be in the future, or perhaps busier, the question arises, will we learn how to make time? You will find no argument from me against planning for a bright and successful future. My only contention is against how we are taught to view what that future consists of. When we neglect to take care of the whole person at such an early time in our lives, who is bold enough to claim that the future will be different? That once we have accomplished our summa cum laudes and gained entrance into our prestigious graduate programs, then, finally, will we be ready to remember our friends and family? For better or worse, this is a reality that must be dealt with individually. Whether it is a reflection of the culture at upper level institutions of higher education in general, or if it is endemic to Georgetown, I am not able to say. But I, for one, am not willing to run the risk of forgetting to smell the roses. Or, in our case, the cherry blossoms.

Aakib Khaled is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. He can be reached at khaledthehoya.com. CURA PERSONALIS appears every other Friday.

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