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

Half in Georgetown, Half in the Real World

Andreas Jeninga/The Hoya Jessica Corsi pauses for one last time in Georgetown before heading out into the real world.

I didn’t know that only a few people were invited to write a senior viewpoint – I thought the call went out to the whole class. So I didn’t answer the e-mail. Or any of the e-mails that followed after that one. And then, I got one from the opinion editor in the vein of, “Are you gonna write something, or what? ‘Cuz, uh, we’re about to give away your spot.”

Uuuhhhmmm.

I feel as if that disconnect is indicative of much of my stay at Georgetown (am I supposed to say “career”?). This place has meant so many things to me, and I’m an entirely different person because of what I’ve done and read and heard, as well as the people I’ve met while I’ve been here.

But it’s been strange. It’s been pretty intensely strange. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I arrived, this wasn’t like any other place I’d ever been before.

The first months were so heady, and I was so high on it all that the grand differences didn’t stand out so much because I was honeymooning on the beauty of being in college. I was blithely glossing over all those things that felt so jarring, like the class differences (between me and just about everybody else, I felt), and the lack of racial diversity compared to my high school, and how everyone seemed so uptight and conservative about so many issues to me – politics, religion and especially sex. I thought we must be the most sexless campus in the United States of America. What type of sadistic administration prohibits condoms? Are they living in a fairytale? I was raised extremely Catholic but even my parents know that college students are a population you definitely don’t want to leave without protection, personal and institutional religious affiliations aside.

So much of Georgetown has never made sense to me (like the condoms). But the funny thing is, so much of it has made sense that it has become one of the main lenses through which I view the entire world. Where I grew up will never look the same. My grandparents’ house will never look the same. And every time I leave Georgetown and come back, none of it ever looks the same. Of course, every time I go to New York and come back it looks like a little village, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.

When I studied abroad in Mexico City, I realized that maybe there was actually something special about the quality of our education and the people we attend school with. Then I came back, and I once again thought everything was still too status quo and too academy, but I attended as many of the lectures as I could, and I read as many of the additional books my professors suggested as I could, and I still can’t believe the classes I didn’t get to take and the papers I didn’t get to write (isn’t that kind of sick and twisted?). I can feel it now better than ever, that what we do here is maybe just a little bit incredible.

It’s funny, because even as much as Georgetown is still part of my daily existence, I don’t really feel a part of it anymore, and I haven’t for a long time. I’ve been living off campus this semester, way off campus, down at the U Street corridor – a place that doesn’t look like Georgetown at all. Last night while I was hitting DC9 and The Kingpin and getting Ethiopian with a Georgetown med student, my housemate was getting her purse snatched near our house. I know that happens in Georgetown, too, but it’s not the same out there. I don’t mean it’s the most dangerous place in the world – it’s not – but it’s not the same. There’s really no place like Georgetown.

It’s some sort of cushy green prep school, where they change the flowers every couple of days, and we stress to death about mystical magical papers on abstract theoretical discourse, and where most students’ parents are still changing their diapers – metaphorically speaking.

As an SFS student, I can’t ever get enough politics and I don’t think that theory is a luxury. I think that what we do academically is important work that will have real affects on real lives around the globe.

But campus politics aren’t the same as the gentrification issues my “transition” neighborhood faces or, for that matter, the failings of public infrastructure I saw everyday in exico City and that I see everyday right here in the District. Georgetown politics have always felt important to me because I am part of that community and therefore have a stake in it, and because even in the ivory tower bad things do happen and we deal with trauma and crime.

And yet Georgetown often feels so far removed from most of the world’s most pressing issues that I’ve frequently questioned the validity of our localized, often myopic pursuits. But maybe we balance both the best we can. I don’t know. I think we try. I hope we try. Maybe you only have the time and space to study when you purposefully remove yourself from the world.

Georgetown is a beautiful place – an incredible, mostly interim, richly experiential place that holds out the promise of better days for all of us who dream of and work toward better things, for ourselves and our families, but not just in terms of our investment banker salaries. In real terms. In life-or-death, war and famine, environmental destruction and human rights terms. And I’m lucky, so, so very lucky to have come here and to have done and learned the things I’ve done and to have seen the things I’ve seen.

Maybe it’s OK that I’ve always felt half in and half out of the campus. That’s been incorporated into my lens as well, and now I feel a little bit comfortable, a little bit uncomfortable everywhere. And I can see flowers and clock towers and cushy green grass as I pound the pavement in the world’s dirtiest cities, and I can feel where I’ve been. I’ve been to Georgetown and the inside of me, my head, and my heart and my soul, all of that has changed forever because of it.

And that’s a wonderful thing to be able to say.

Jessica Corsi is a senior in the School of Foreign Service.

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