Alexander Brown/The Hoya

It was September of this academic year, and the Georgetown University Student Association office on the first floor of the Leavey Center was packed. About 50 eager freshmen and transfer students arrived to an open house where GUSA was speaking about student government and advocacy. One freshman, in particular, stuck out from all of the rest.

She was asking tons of questions and was genuinely interested in everything I had to say. It didn’t take very long, however, for me to figure out that she was there not because she wanted to be, but because she felt like she was supposed to be.

After a couple of minutes of chatting, I pulled her and a couple of other students aside. In the student government office of a top-20 academic institution in the nation’s capital — and surrounded by other students they were probably prepared to run against in a GUSA election — I told them not to join GUSA immediately.

I suggested they apply to the Students of Georgetown Inc., try to be Blue and Gray tour guides, throw their hats in the ring to walk Jack the Bulldog and scream their heads off at Georgetown soccer and basketball games. Don’t get me wrong — I love GUSA, and I am so proud of the fact that it became such an important piece of my time at Georgetown. But I involved myself in GUSA because I wanted to, not because I felt like I was supposed to.

At a place like Georgetown, where ambition and intelligence abound, it’s very easy to lose our sense of purpose. For the past four years I have lived, taken classes and worked with intelligent, compassionate and bold people every single day, and so has each member of the Class of 2014. What we must remember, though, is to involve ourselves in initiatives, organizations and causes that we love and feel passionately about, not those in which we believe we’re supposed to be involved.

For a majority of my time at Georgetown, my passions never crossed with student government. The organization I feel the most connected to is the Blue and Gray Tour Guide Society because I got to brag about the place that I love to hundreds of eager prospective students. I was rewarded for following my passion every time a group of these strangers came to love Georgetown in the same way I do.

They say that if you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I recited that saying at the end of each of my tours because I genuinely believe that most Hoyas do what makes them happy. Waking up at 7 a.m. to get to your internship on the Hill after a Thursday night of partying might not be glamorous, but getting to sit in on a congressional briefing or interact directly with elected officials is what makes the job worth it.

Although Georgetown is a community full of people who do what makes them happy, the onus falls on us as Georgetown graduates to continue to follow our passion into the real world. At Georgetown, this might be easier because the passions of students and faculty alike are on display every day. When your professor emails you back at 2 a.m. or you see a student group tabling out in the rain, it’s because they care. That is contagious, I believe — which is part of why Georgetown is such a special place.

To the undergraduates who are so lucky to have time left at this magical place, follow your passions. Work tons of hours at a job you enjoy, stay up until the sun rises studying what you love and spend time with company that makes you smile.

To the Class of 2014, remember that when you’re doing what you love, it’s an opportunity, not a job. As that famous ’80s song “Listen to Your Heart” says, “I don’t know where you’re going, and I don’t know why, but listen to your heart.” We have done our due diligence as students, and now it’s our turn to go and set the world on fire.

Adam Ramadan is a senior in the School of Foreign Service. He is a former vice president of the Georgetown University Student Association.

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