I remember my move-in day at Georgetown all too well—it was a steamy 95-degree afternoon when I first arrived on the Hilltop, eager to begin my life as a Hoya. My CHARMS-chosen roommate Jake met me in my VCW room, and I noticed he had already taken the bed I wanted. Joy, what a start.
The next few months were a Blue & Gray blur, filled with late night Eat & Joy, VCW-style living, trips to places all over DC, and, thankfully, no nights in Lau the entire semester. I swear, I did study—just not in the soul-eating dungeon we call Lau (see Tip #4 below for some other ideas).
And soon enough I found myself back in northern New Jersey. Reunited with my friends from back home, I was surprised to find that many of them weren’t really enjoying school. I had probably a dozen friends ready to transfer, and many more disgruntled with their first semester but willing to give it a second go. And this made me realize something very important: I’m blessed. Georgetown is an incredible place. It’s got great academics, great tradition, and, most importantly, great people. For me, it’s so much more than a school—it’s home.
I no longer call New Jersey home (which my parents HATE)—my home is on the Hilltop. Leo’s is my kitchen; VCW my bedroom (well, not anymore…); Healy Lawn my front yard; Yates my personal gym; Washington my playground.
Now, as happy as I was, there was definitely an adjustment coming to DC. I did a lot of research coming into my freshman year with the thought that I knew everything when I arrived. Boy was I wrong. Here are some things I wish I knew on that first day of freshman year:
1. Avoid Leo’s during its off hours.
Those are the times between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, & dinner and late night service. Don’t go between 10 AM-11 AM, 3 PM-4:30 PM, or 8 PM-9 PM unless you are desperately in need of fuel and nearing starvation. All that’s there during off hours is salad and sandwiches. It’s a disappointment.
2. Take care of your body.
Make sure you eat. My first week at Georgetown I lost seven pounds. Now most people would probably see that as a blessing, but I didn’t have the weight to lose. And, that being said, exercise. Once you make sure you’re eating, you eat A LOT. The late night food and beverages add up quickly. The freshman 15 (or 35) is real—and some of my friends back home looked like they took up sumo wrestling as a hobby in the matter of a semester. You hate to see it. So at least play intramural sports—which leads us to another tip.
3. Don’t miss intramural sports sign up deadlines.
You should get emails about them, but they’re easy to miss. The first sport is flag football—sign up with a team by September 10 (A full list of deadlines and more IM Sports info is here). I won two championships as a freshman and would love a new challenge from some incoming students. Oh, and winners get a free t-shirt.
4. Take a Break from Lau
I’m in the minority when it comes to avoiding Lau completely, but even those who do choose to study there should treat themselves to a change of scenery every now and then. Try Regents, MSB, or, if it’s nice out, the Leavey Center roof—they are really great spots to chill and get some work done.
5. “Do less.”
One of my best friends and my OA told me this on my first day at Georgetown, and he couldn’t have been more right. Join clubs you are passionate about, but not so many that you can’t focus on what you love. I’m a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, the Blue and Gray Tour Guide Society, and Club Soccer—and it’s a perfect balance. I urge you to find things in which you can invest yourself. For me, it was these groups, as well as Relay for Life—I spearheaded the SigEp charge into this event last spring. Check out Georgetown’s Relay website and Facebook page for more info. The SigEp team absolutely killed it last semester, raising over $20,000, the most of any student group on campus.
At the end of the day, my first year at Georgetown was defined by the people I met and the experiences we shared. Bingo Players at Echostage, Hoya basketball games, cab rides into Virginia for Chick-Fil-A, late night FIFA with my brothers. This is why I can’t wait to get back to Georgetown. The freedom of college, paired with the people you meet at Georgetown, makes for a really incredible freshman year.
New Hoyas, you’re only a few days away. Get pumped. Get ready to experience the Hilltop.
About SigEp: SigEp at Georgetown is a social fraternity committed to the principles of virtue, diligence, and brotherly love. We take the best the Greek tradition has to offer — a sense of community through brotherhood; vibrant social life; and a wide range of career and networking opportunities — and exclude nonconstructive elements like pledging and hazing, which aren’t in line with the values here at Georgetown. “This fraternity will be different” is our founding creed.
We invite you to take a look around this site and to check out our Facebook page to get a better sense of who we are and what we do. If you’re considering rushing SigEp, sign up for email alerts about upcoming events, and take a look at our recruitment page,which features a tentative calendar of events. You can learn more about us here.