Thursday, June 18, 2015

Georgetown Dreams

I have been at a loss for words for the past hour about the day that I just experienced.  In a day where I had no expectations of Washington D.C. or Georgetown University, I was simply blown away.  I expected to have an great, but not mind-boggling, time at both Georgetown and at Washington D.C.'s National Mall.  What I got instead was what I could easily call one of the best days I have ever experienced.  Ironically, I didn't get off to such a great start.  Because of a deadly combination of jet lag and a lack of a full eight hour sleep, I woke up a little late this morning and was forced to rush to get ready, rather than at my leisure.  After going through my morning routine, I quickly went downstairs, where I was greeted by Mr. Chan-Law, who had a devilishly-handsome grin on his face.  He told me to get up earlier and that tomorrow we would have to wake up even earlier to travel to Philadelphia.  The perfect blend of elements for recalibrating an already broken sleeping schedule.  

At around nine in the morning, our shuttle brought us to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the first in many destinations this group had in its sight.  The museum didn't open up until ten in the morning, so we wandered around until we found Potbelly Sandwich Shop, a place that made delicious breakfast sandwiches.  We quickly ate and headed back to the Museum, only to be greeted with an incredibly long line that stretched far to the building parallel to the museum.  We waited in the line for about 10 minutes, only to find out that we wouldn't be able to go into the museum until 11 o'clock.  Being ten o'clock at the moment, we decided that we would head back at 3:30 after the visit to Georgetown and explore the National Mall until the Georgetown tour at 12:30.

WWII Monument
Although we had to modify our plans, we nevertheless had a wonderful time visiting the National Mall.  We started off by visiting the high standing Washington Memorial, then the World War II memorial, which had 54 Memorial Columns in memory of the 48 states and the six territories that America occupied at the time of the war.  Following the visit the the World War II Memorial, we took a long road that passed the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool until we reached the actual Lincoln Memorial, which was all the more spectacular.  To finish our trip at the National Mall, shagged some ice cream and walked to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, where we snapped photos and took a brief recess under the shade that was provided.  All of the memorials that we visited were absolutely stunning to see in real life.  It's one thing to see them on a screen or in a pamphlet  but it's another to be right there and see a piece of history.  While standing on top of the Lincoln Memorial, I got a really nice view of all the Washington Memorial and the Pool, which was breathtaking to say the least.  When I first saw each memorial, I had to stop everything I was doing and just observe it for a while.  No pictures, no videos, just admiration.  We wrapped up our visit in the National Mall by playing "Flag Down a Taxi" for about 10 frustrating minutes before we were able to get two four-person taxis to take us to Georgetown University.  I was in the first car with Shanti and Thao while Julie, Stephen, Helen, and Mr. Chan-Law took the second cab.  Our cab driver was incredibly friendly, pointing out the Watergate Complex, as well as the stairs where a scene from the movie "Insidious" was shot.  

The building dedicated to Theology
Right when I stepped out of the cab at our destination, I looked to my right and saw a place that looked straight out of a Harry Potter movie.  I realized that the collection of mammoth buildings I was looking at was Georgetown University.  Immediately, I was in awe of what I was looking at.  The buildings stood high and mighty, unlike anything I had ever seen before.  Similar to the memorials at the National Mall, all I could do was state in admiration.  To say that the campus was beautiful would be an understatement and would do injustice to the people who presumably spent years constructing these beautiful works of art.  Again, I came into the visit with very little expectations of Georgetown.  The only bit of information I knew about the college was that former number one draft pick and Hall of Fame basketball player Patrick Ewing was an alum of the school and brought the basketball team great success.  The glamorous campus was a great start.  

Georgetown's Chapel
At 12:30 in the afternoon, we walked into the admissions building, checked in, filmed out a form, and then were led into a presentation room.  Kelly Young, Assistant Director of Administration, introduced herself to the students and parents that were in the presentation room and began to run through the basics of Georgetown University.  She started off with a brief history of Georgetown, then went into facts and statistics about the school, such as its population, majors, and class sizes.  According to Young, Georgetown University is broken into four undergraduate schools, Georgetown University, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Walsh School of Foreign Service, and McDonough School of Business.  Following her description of these undergraduate schools, Young talked about the notable guest speakers that have spoken at Georgetown, such as Hillary and Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, Tony Blair, and Warren Buffet, internship opportunities, studying abroad, admission information, and the Georgetown community.  One of my favorite aspects of the presentation was when they talked about Jugg, the school's student club that created their own burger recipe and sells them on the lawn during the spring.  It may have been because I was a little hungry, but to me, this was a personification of the fantastic student body as a whole, which made me eager for the tour that lie ahead. 

After about 30 minutes, the presentation ended and three students from Georgetown University greeted us as the tour guides for the day.  We joined the group of Yijin Yang, a junior that was a copywriter for the student run newspaper, the host of an hour long radio show on Saturdays, and an employee at Georgetown Cupcakes.  She immediately caught my attention when she said she worked for the newspaper.  Being editor-in-chief of my school's newspaper, I immediately thought this would be a great opportunity to learn from Yang and her experience with working to the school's student-run newspaper.  Yang also stated she was open to answer questions after the tou
r, so I knew I had to talk with her when all was said and done.

The dorms & Yijin (on the right)
The tour of Georgetown was both a memorable and very informative experience.  The more and more we walked about the school, the more I fell in love with it.  Just based off of my memory, I saw the  building of theology, the business school, the family room known as "Healey Hall," the stadium, their rooftop, the tavern, and the cafeteria.  A majority of the buildings were constructed with bricks, but they were modern on the inside, which I found very unique and pleasing to the eye.  Yang was an excellent tour guide as well, making the entire experience memorable.  She went in depth to nearly every item that was briefly covered in Young's presentation while being incredibly friendly at the same time and willing to answer questions at a moment's notice.  Her love for the school seemed authentic as well because she had a genuine appreciation for the school and wanted to cram as much information into the little time she had with the group.  When the tour ended, I was able to exchange information with her regarding journalism and she was more than willing to help.  I believe the her attitude during and after the tour was a proper representation of what Georgetown was all about, and what set it aside from different colleges.  Although I was sad to leave after the presentation, I was able to snag a hoodie at their bookstore so I would always have a piece of Georgetown with me.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Our cohort made the most of the little time we had before the Georgetown Dinner at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  At the very beginning of the tour, we were given an identification card with one person, male or female depending on the card that was drawn.  I chose a man named Peter Philipps, born in Essen, Germany.  According to Shanti, I was to read one page of his ID per floor, then read the last page upon finishing.  We headed up the elevator and were dropped off on the fourth floor, which progressively went into the history of Antisemitism and the rise of the Nazi Party. This floor spanned from about 1930-1940, and talked about the beginning of Jewish persecution and the rise of Hitler.  Julie and I watched a 14 minute film on the the history of Anti-Semitism, which dated back to the days of Jesus Christ.  After finishing up on the fourth floor, we made our way down to the third floor, which went into the how Jews were persecuted.  The second and final floor went into the end of the Nazi regime and how Jews revolted.  We didn't have time to get the full experience of the museum, but the material that I did get to cover was incredibly powerful stuff.  In my opinion, the museum perfectly depicted what occurred during the tragic events of the Holocaust.  Upon exiting the Holocaust Museum at 5:30, we jumped around like madmen to find a taxi, went back to our Holiday Inn, and quickly prepared for the Georgetown dinner.  

The City Tavern Club
We arrived at the City Tavern Club around 7:15.  At first, I didn't recognize the place, mostly because I was expecting some high-end, modern restaurant similar to One Market in San Francisco.  We walked inside the Tavern, down the stairs to the restaurant, and were greeted by Sean Redmond, Kevin Sullivan, Bebe Albornoz, Gabriela Perla, Connor Rohan, and Abbey McNaughton.  They all had smiles on their faces and gladly introduced themselves.  We all engaged in a little bit of small talk, then sat down at our respective table.  I sat next to Kevin, Abbey, Connor, and Helen.  The conversation started off with Kevin, Abbey, and Connor asking us about our backgrounds, but the conversation shifted in the opposite direction as we started to ask them about their experiences at Georgetown, what they liked, what they didn't like as much, and their advice moving forward.  Somewhere along the lines of the dinner, Kevin and I engaged in a really strong conversation about school, sports, and journalism.  He was incredibly friendly and I opened up like a book, telling him all about my experiences in all three subjects.  My favorite conversation topic was when we talked about how sports goes beyond the realm of the field or the court and extends into the cities and communities they plan in.  

While I was talking about journalism, Kevin mentioned that he knew a former Georgetown alum that owned a Washington sports team that could possibly donate money to my school's journalism club in order to produce a printed newspaper.  When I heard this, I was absolutely shocked.  Just a little background, my school's journalism club is currently experiencing a little bit of economic troubles and we are forced to produce content only over the internet.  Internally, Julie, fellow editor-in-chief, and I discussed ways to fundraise money just to try and print a newspaper every once-in-a-while.  When Kevin told me that he could possibly support a printed paper, I almost cried tears of joy because I was so happy.  It was at this moment that I realized Georgetown was more than an average college.  This wasn't just a place to spend four years to get a degree.  No, to me, this place was a family, a tight knit community of people from all across the United States that are all about something more than themselves.  While Sean described the upper levels of the tavern club, all I could think about was how Georgetown could change my life, even though I didn't actually attend the college.  I fell in love with this school, and hopefully one day we can reunite.
The Georgetown Dinner - 2015

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