As you enter the gates of Georgetown University, you will be welcomed by our dear John Carroll statue and the beautiful Healy tower- if this is going to be the place you will spending the next 4 years….WELCOME!
I know how exciting it can be moving into a new dorm, making new friends and enjoying your newfound independence. Here are some tips that will help you survive your first year at Georgetown University:
1. At least be civil with your roommate
Your roommate is the first friend you will make. Wouldn’t it be nice to be on good terms with the person who will sit with you at the dining table at least for the first week, figure out the classrooms and attend social events together? You don’t have to become best friends with your roommate, but since you have share a small room for the next 8 months and make certain compromises, I recommend getting to know your roommate better.
2. Stick with the minimum meal plan…EAT OUT!
A lot of my friends freshman year had the 18 meal plan and were either wasting meal swipes because they wound up not being able to use them all in one week. In the case of freshman residents of Darnall, our dining hall is just a little too far, but at least they are close to Epi, the 24-hour eatery for late night snacks.
There is a whole other blog post about the amazing places to eat off Georgetown campus; just even in walking distance, there are some famous restaurants like Martins Tavern, Cafe Milano, Clydes…But my advice to try new restaurants on a regular basis brings me to the next tip:
3. Keep track of how much you are spending
Eating out in DC can get very expensive, so make sure you are keeping track of how much you are spending and exploring cheaper and equally amazing options. Take advantage of student discounts and promotion events!
Even when you are buying textbooks for classes, make sure you have explored all of your purchase/rent options. The school bookstore is not the only place that holds the needed books- Amazon, Chegg, E-books, libraries…If you just look a little deeper, you will find the most cost-efficient choices.
4. Don’t be intimidated by club applications
The CAB Fair will open you up to the wide variety of clubs on campus: activist groups, career-oriented clubs, music groups and there is even the GU Eating Society! Many of the clubs will require applications, but don’t be afraid to just try them out if you are really interested. Although it is true that some organizations have a more competitive pool of applicants, it is really worth a shot to just click that submit button. Remember that there are over a hundred different student organizations on campus and there is at least one place for you.
Side note: At the same time, do not over-extend yourself and just sign up for everything to socialize. There will be plenty of opportunities to make amazing friends and committing to too many extracurricular will stress you out later.
5. Take advantage of office hours
Get to know your professors engage in conversations and make sure you understand the course material as you go along the semester. Don’t expect your professor to be very helpful right before midterms, when all the students rush in to ask questions. Your professors will also become your best source for networking and career advice if you want to go into their field
6. Venture out!
There is so much to see in DC, so don’t hesitate to step out of Hilltop once in a while! It is really easy to get caught up in the ‘Georgetown Bubble’, but luckily we have several convenient ways to tour DC. Take the GUTS bus to Rosslyn (where you can also get on a metro) or Dupont Circle. In walking distance, we of course have M street, Wisconsin Avenue and the Waterfront, all amazing places for eating out, shopping and just taking a walk.
Visit art museums, jog to the monuments and join, or at least observe, protests for your voice to be heard! DC is such an exciting place and if you just stay in your room, you would be missing out big time!
7. Learn your way around
The Georgetown campus is small so even when you sleep in a little, you will probably be able to make it class. In order to do that, you should know your way around on campus! You will also have to remember which floors the main entrance of each building opens up to. For example, the doors to Reiss are on the second floor and the doors to the Intercultural Center lead to the third floor. I know. It is very confusing.
8. Try to go to Yates (School Gym)
Don’t set impossible goals like waking up at 6 am everyday and going to the gym because they will only stress you out. However, remember that you already paid for Yates and it is important to stay fit! (…and not deal with freshmen 15, because trust me, it is real)
9. Take your time making your schedule
Georgetown gives you a time frame during which you can register for classes and then the computer generates a final semester schedule. Since its not a first come first serve basis, take your time to read the course descriptions, professor evaluations and class times to create a schedule that fits YOU.
I recommend making a balanced schedule with both required courses and electives so you take at least one class you are really interested in, even just for fun!
10. LAU is not your only friend.
The Lauinger library may be the biggest library on campus, but definitely not the only place you want to study in. LAU can become very depressing and soulless by midnight and you may feel trapped in an unproductive work cycle (coming from personal experience). Try the bioethics library, the McDonough Business School buildings, the Library of Congress, Leavey Center to find the perfect study space.
11. Have fun!
During New Student Orientation (NSO), you will be overwhelmed with icebreakers and you might desperately try to remember all the names of the people you meet. You might complain about your dorm or just not get along with floor mates.
DON’T FRET! Things get better over time and you will get a hang of everything. Everyone’s experience at Georgetown is different and unique! Make the best out of your time and don’t be afraid to take some risks!