Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Delightful Day in D.C.

After leaving our hotel and taking what felt like a five minute nap on the plane, we landed in Washington, D.C. This was my first time in Washington, D.C. and I was very excited because I have never been to places like the White House, Washington Monument, or the Lincoln Memorial. Luckily, we had a little bit of time today to visit all of these places and I’m happy that I get to check them off of my list. Before we visited all these places, we grabbed lunch and then we took a cab to The National Mall which is a national park in downtown Washington, D.C. and is used to refer the area between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

The White House
First we visited the White House. I noticed that there were no trash cans around and if you wanted to throw something away you had to walk pretty far. I knew that we didn’t have enough time to tour the White House but apparently, you can’t just walk in and you need to plan a tour months in advance. After the White House, we walked around the park to the Washington Monument. You could pretty much see the Monument from anywhere in the park but I was pretty impressed at how large it was when we got up close. The last place that we got to see before we had to leave for our Georgetown University tour was the Lincoln Memorial. We decided to not go all the way to the top because we were all hot and sweaty and tired so we settled for a picture at the middle. For my first visit in our nation’s capital, I’m glad that I got to see some of the main attractions that Washington, D.C. had to offer.

Georgetown University
Once our early afternoon in D.C. was over, we made our way over to Georgetown University. We entered the campus through the main gates and from there we got to see a portion of the campus. The buildings that we saw from there had a sort of old gothic feeling to it which, being from California was new to me. After taking in the view, we made our way inside and to the info session. The info session seemed to cover all of the basics of what Georgetown had to offer and how their school worked academic wise and social wise. Unlike WashU, Georgetown has 6 core classes that everyone had to take. It got divided up to be two classes based on English, philosophy, and theology. I don’t really like this because philosophy and theology doesn’t interest me but I feel like if I had the chance to try it out, I could bring myself to enjoy it. 

On our tour, we got to go all over the university campus and learn some of the stories behind the buildings. A prank that some of the students try and pull if they steal the clock hands off of one of the clocks on campus and they would send it to someone that they really wanted to come and speak at the university. After a while, the handles were stolen too much in the past so the school refused to replace them and the prank sort of died out. I think this is really unique and it has the potential to bring the students together in order for a prank of this magnitude to be successful. 

Once the tour was over, I wasn’t left with that big of an impression of Georgetown like I was with WashU. Personally, I felt like the whole tour was focused more on all the famous alumni that Georgetown had and all the people they had come and speak. I would have preferred to listen to what life was like in Georgetown for the students and see how some of the experiences vary.

Georgetown Alumni Dinner
This evening, we had our alumni dinner at the City Tavern Club. The Tavern is a really historic place and one of the oldest buildings in Georgetown. It has seen many of our past presidents like John Adams, Ronald Regan, and potentially George Washington. This time I wasn’t as nervous about meeting the alumni or the students and I was pretty excited because I wanted to see if I could discover more about Georgetown University. 

Once everyone arrived and introductions were out of the way, we sort of broke off into smaller groups so we could ask more questions. At the info session, I was confused about the alumni interview portion of applying and one of the current students, Katherine, was kind enough to answer my question. I thought it was like a really scary and intimidating interview in front of a panel of qualified alumni and they would grill you with questions but it turned out to be sort of like a conversation. She said that all you needed to do was communicate really well to the person interviewing you why Georgetown University was the perfect fit for you. This is something that isn’t really common for most universities and I really like it because it is like at this point when you really know whether the prospective student is really serious and interested in going to Georgetown.

At the dinner, I got into a conversation with Sean Redmond, the President of the Georgetown Club of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and that conversation will stay with me forever. He told me about applying to college and how it is important for the real you to come through and that everything is not about what type of classes you take or the number of activities that you sign up for. There are many students at Georgetown who excel at all of these things but it was how who they were was communicated in their essays and their interviews that eventually helped them get to where they are right now. I personally found this really helpful because in a few months, I’m going to be applying to colleges and it will be easy for me to rely on my extra circulars and forget to really show who I am and why the certain school that I will apply to is the school for me. We went further to discuss how I could handle the people at my school who seem to preach that colleges won’t accept you without these things and I am excited to try out some of the tactics he shared with me.
Trevor, Kevin (Back row from left to right)
Nishaat, Katherine, Dani, Victoria, Alexa, Sean, Oyin and Jimmy (Front row from left to right)
I figured that I should take some of Sean’s other advice and ask questions because it won’t hurt right? One of the people there, Kevin, had just recently graduated and part of his major had to do with economics which I am really interested in. He felt that the economics program at Georgetown was different because the professors were really experienced in the subject and in applying it also. This never really left my mind and I couldn’t help but wonder all evening what it would be like to actually talk to one of these professors. Towards the end of the dinner, asked an open question to everyone who had applied to a university about how to stay calm during the whole application process. I got a lot of feedback but the most reoccurring one was stay organized, have a plan, and don’t wait until the last minute to do all the essays. I’m really thankful that I got this advice and I feel like it will prevent me from having any breakdowns come time to start applying. Eventually we broke off into scholarship talk and we soon discovered that we had a Gates Millennium Scholar at our table. Nishaat, a current Georgetown University student, told us about what she went through when she was applying for the scholarship and all the work that she had to do. She was even kind enough to offer us help on applying and she really encouraged all of us to apply.

Chicago Cohort
This dinner was the highlight of my day. Talking to all of the people there was really eye opening and I found myself clinging onto every word that everybody had to say and just being stunned into silence as I let their words sink in and then all of a sudden, a light bulb would go off in my head as what they said finally hit me. I wish the dinner could have lasted all night so that I could listen to everything they had to say but sadly the night had to come to an end. I’ll never forget the words and advice that was given to me at this alumni dinner and I can already find myself thinking differently because of what I heard tonight from all of these people, especially from Sean. This dinner really helped me clear up any confusion that I had about the university and I learned way more than I could have every ever hopped for. Hearing all of the different experiences that everyone at the dinner had will stick with me as I move on in life and I am so incredibly glad that I was able to connect with this wonderful group of people and they can expect that I will be staying in touch all of them.

1 comment:

  1. I’m seeing a recurring theme in these blogs and that’s that you all seem to be getting a lot out of these dinners--and I don’t mean just the food. As a matter of fact, I’m not reading a single word where any of you are writing about the food. That’s a first for us.