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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Eric Roper: Get prepared for something different

The one thing that shocked me the most about college was that it wasn’t high school. I arrived here envisioning the next four years to be a mere continuation of my past. But with its large student body and sprawling urban campus, GW was not prepared to recreate those caring, coddling pre-college years.

This school will change you for the better, you just have to give it time. It took about two years for me to fully abandon that warm feeling I got from going to a close-knit boarding school in Connecticut. I really didn’t like what I saw on the surface of my new school – the lack of community, the clubbers, the big sunglasses, the Ugg boots. But I implore you, don’t put too much stock in those early criticisms.

It’s hard to fully recall my first impression of GW four years ago, but I probably phrased it best in my transfer application to Georgetown. “The first and most important reason why I am leaving GW is because there is almost no community,” I wrote from a cramped quad in Thurston Hall. I was in a rush to leave, as were two of my roommates.

But needless to say, Georgetown didn’t want me.

I was here for good, but remained confused why there were no dining halls, few common rooms and not a single Frisbee golfer in Foggy Bottom. Where was my regular college experience? Why didn’t I feel connected to this school? It was a frequent late-night topic of conversation in our room.

It was only after two years that I saw below the surface of this school, and realized that there are a lot of normal people on this campus, and a lot of great opportunities. Not everyone covers their head in oil on Thursday nights, slips into a tight non-sensical shirt with Asian lettering and goes to the club to grind with some sweaty stranger – all while bobbing their arm in the air pointing to the crowd. I tried to be that cool once, but I had trouble yelling questions at my anonymous dance partner over the thump of German techno.

I still questioned the University and its lack of community, but I was now determined to become more informed and involved. This led me to The Hatchet. But before I came to this paper I rushed two fraternities, had a brief stint with an Armenian club and tried out for the Recess improv group (they rejected me). Looking back on it four years later, that radical change from high school forced me to leave my comfort zone and find my passion for journalism.

Now you’re probably reading this at Colonial Inauguration, and I can tell you that what you’re seeing around you isn’t really what this school is like. It’s more like a theatrical version of GW, drafted with a liberal creative license. During the year, no one stomps around singing the fight song in your face, and there are no Hollywood-themed dance parties in the Marvin Center (though perhaps it might spice things up a bit). You may totally embrace CI, but if you’re like me, you might leave a bit more confused than when you arrived.

So when you return several months from now, know that this school is what you make it. If you pass judgment too soon, you may never break through the surface and discover yourself.

The writer, a senior majoring in sociology, is The Hatchet’s editor in chief.

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