When I attended my Georgetown Admissions Ambassador Program Weekend in the spring of 2016, everyone talked about finding their home on the Hilltop. I immediately knew I wanted to find that kind of community, but I worried it would not be as easy to find as they made it seem.
Now that I am at the very end of my four years at Georgetown University, I have realized I did not need to be so nervous about finding my place here. There are plenty of homes on the Hilltop, hopefully one for everyone. But what I found as my home was never what I admired most about Georgetown. What makes Georgetown so special is all of the students who come together and call the university their home, and how all of these homes come together to become the one we collectively share.
Coming here my freshman year, I knew clubs were a huge part of student life. I was really stressed about which clubs I was going to join and even more worried about having to start a whole new round of applications after having just gone through college admissions. I joined the Georgetown Program Board right away because there was no application. GPB became my community and where I met so many of my friends, but what I found most amazing about my time with the organization was how it opened my eyes to all the different homes that exist on the Hilltop.
GPB is one of the only clubs on campus that creates programming meant for the entire Georgetown community, but I am not writing this as a plug for GPB, I promise. Because it’s hard to reach 8,000 students all on our own, we contact other organizations and communities on campus to hear what events they want to see and to create co-sponsorship opportunities. Through these opportunities, I discovered clubs I otherwise would never have known existed and realized that Georgetown really is a place where so many diverse identities can come together and call the campus home. Speaking with and learning from all these people was the best way to see why Georgetown is special to so many of us, especially to me.
It took me until senior year to realize all the stress I had about finding a home was unnecessary. I ended up quitting most of the clubs I joined freshman and sophomore years, anyway. In the end, I think what was most important was the time I took to learn about the people who I met along the way, whether in class, through GPB or even in line at Midnight Mug. These people made Georgetown my home.
Yes, GPB was a home for me. But so were Georgetown Individuals Vocal and Energetic for Service, the Center for Student Engagement – where I worked this year – and the friends I made on my freshman floor who I originally thought I would have nothing common with. Even my roommates, who make up my literal home on the Hilltop, have combined many aspects of Georgetown under one roof. One was about to play Elle Woods in Mask and Bauble’s musical production of “Legally Blonde” in Poulton Hall, one was layout director of Bossier and brought me to the coolest create nights, and one was captain of the triathlon team who we cheered on in different races every weekend. All of their different communities became part of my home, and the experiences I had with them made up so much of my own Georgetown experience.
I have been away from campus for a couple of weeks now, and I have realized I did not have only one home on the Hilltop. I have communities that share so many of my interests, friends from all over the world and so many things that have made my four years complete. GPB always gave me a place to go, but the people, experiences and viewpoints GPB introduced me to are what I will treasure most from my experience at Georgetown.
I think that the home on the Hilltop I was so nervous about finding is something much larger than I ever could have imagined as a freshman. It is important to know we belong here and to find the people who reassure us of that. But, if we stay in the homes we are comfortable in all the time, we can miss out on so much of Georgetown and so many people who will only make our time here better. If I had not taken advantage of as many opportunities or explored as many aspects of Georgetown as I did, my experience would have been a lot different. So, if you are a student at Georgetown, do what you are interested in or passionate about. Join the clubs you want to join and quit the ones that are not for you. Go out of your way to learn about something you are interested in. Meet someone new whenever you can. Four years go by fast, and we should learn all we can from each other, both inside and outside the classroom, while we can.
Maggie White is a senior in the College.