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New South, old memories
Due to a slight Housing Office mix-up, when I arrived on campus for early move-in a few days ago I was informed that my apartment was not quite ready, and that I would be assigned a temporary room in New South for a few days until it was. I reacted to the news of being put back in my freshman dorm the way most upperclassmen would—I was less than thrilled, remembering all too well its dingy showers and long, echoing corridors, and expecting to be kept awake by enthusiastic new Hoyas exchanging stories from their pre-orientation programs. But I found myself a little less disdainful when I noticed my temporary room number, 243, or rather, when I noticed its similarity to my old New South room number, 423. In a rush of pre-senior year sentimentality I assigned a real cosmic significance to what was actually a pretty minor numerical coincidence, and decided that this was a sign from the housing gods that I ought to do some reflection on my years at Georgetown.
As I stood in the lobby, breathing in the familiar New South smell (something like cleaning products mixed with years of fruit punch-tinged vomit?), I ran through a montage of memorable moments from the past few years. There was the time that someone inexplicably stole a gun and shot a toilet at Midnight Madness. There was the chaos ensuing from Snowpocalypse, when classes were cancelled for a week and a meager supply of stale bagels was the only thing keeping Leo’s from shutting its doors. Georgetown had hosted countless speakers of global repute, and we had only offended a few of them. More recently, we collectively cooed at the arrival of JJ, the cutest mascot-to-be we could ever have imagined.
A lot had happened in three years to Georgetown as a whole, but also specifically to me; I wondered how long it would take to list all the ways I had changed since freshman year. Though I had once been the poster child for undergraduate indecision (four different major and minor combinations have graced my transcript), I had finally figured out what subjects really motivated me. My goals and values had become more clearly defined, my tastes had shifted, different people mattered most to me.
I headed up to the second floor, subconsciously remembering to skip the one too-short step between New South’s ground and first floors. Georgetown had presented me with innumerable opportunities, obstacles, quirks, and successes, but it wasn’t as though I could make a highlights reel of the events that had had the most profound impact on me. Because rather than dramatic, life-altering moments, sponsored by our biggest donors and touted in our admissions brochures, most of what Georgetown had really given me was a backdrop for the (admittedly, self-centered) task of figuring out who I am.
I don’t spend my days interacting with the second-most politically active student body or the tenth-best study abroad office or with anything else that can get a ranking in a Princeton Review survey. Every experience, from freshman Convocation to the doldrums of sophomore winter to Georgetown Day junior year, has contributed to who I am as I enter my senior year. Innocuous common room conversation presented me with points of view I had never encountered. Academic successes and failures alike molded my work habits. Tough days showed me that even new friends could love and support you as though they had known you since the fourth grade. Each day at Georgetown I had realized a little more what kinds of things mattered to me and what kind of person I wanted to be.
Even though I’m a senior, supposedly almost ready to enter the postgraduate world, I don’t have it all figured out, and I probably won’t any time soon. But I’m a little further along in the process than the girl who moved into New South three years ago, a few days shy of 18 years old. I’m grateful to Georgetown for having provided me with a safe space, but one that tested me as well. As I entered New South 243, greeted by the familiar long desks and beds lined up head-to-toe, I decided I could probably bear a few nights here.