Monday, July 4, 2016

Falling in Love

Today started like the past couple of days, early and feeling tired. The only exception to this was the fact that our adventures would take us to Washington, DC and Maryland and we would have the amazing chance to tour Georgetown University. 

The bus ride to the Capitol took three hours instead of two. I was hoping that after getting some sleep that I would feel replenished and my body strong. After about halfway to DC, I began drifting to sleep until I finally crashed. By the time I awakened, we were already there. 

Union Station
In order for us to get to where we needed to be, we had to go through Union Station. The station was massive and amazing. When I first walked through the doors my eyes had lit up in awe. It was drop dead gorgeous. I could not help myself from staring at the architecture and fine details of the statues; I was glued. Sadly, we had to depart and move on to our main destination. Once we went outside we were hit with such patriotism. The outside of the station was covered with American Flags, there were multiple flags everywhere we turned with historic statues of remembrance to our past.  The weather was warm and the sky was high and clear blue. The surrounding environment was peaceful with admirable buildings and streets. 

We walked and walked for a few blocks until we were at the correct bus station where we could ride the circulator to take us to our appointment tour time at Georgetown. The circulator is a red bus that transports people to different stops around DC but its path or route turns into a large circle. It costs $1 for riding however long and far you want. It took about ten to twenty minutes for the Circulator to arrive. The five of us were standing patiently in the shade behind the stop to stay hydrated and out of the sun. We boarded the vehicle one by one, depositing our $1 and taking a seat. The ride was pleasant. The route the bus took allowed for us to see a lot of the life happening in DC. 

It was soon time for us to hop off and begin our walking toward Georgetown. Still tired and sore from the previous days, I was struggling as always to catch up with the rest. I'm not sure if I'm just a slow walker or if they walk extremely fast. Sometimes I have to jog a little to keep up. None of us had really eaten and were struggling to keep our energy up. John took it upon himself to suggest that we get a cup of coffee from this small coffee shop along the way. Since I don't drink coffee because of the bitter taste and strong caffeine, I stuck with my water and asked for a lemon poppy seed muffin instead; it was one of my favorites. After everyone received their orders we continued to the university. 
Front of Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a sight that you could easily fall in love with at first glance. The buildings were old but looked like castles. It was as if we were touring a royal school or something. John led the way down a long brick path into the Intercultural Center where our information session was taking place. We carefully took our places in the auditorium seats and watched the presentation delivered by one of the admissions officers.

Listening to her present what Georgetown had to offer intrigued me. Georgetown has four undergraduate schools and five graduate schools. The schools that really compelled me were the undergrad school, Walsh School of Foreign Service and the graduate school, McCourt School of Public Policy. Hearing her dig into detail about the Walsh School of Foreign Service, I knew instantly it was a unique school. Out of all the schools we visited, none of them had offered something like this. In my future, I know that whatever I do, I want to be able to make a social change and support the people who need it as well as give a voice to them. Programs related closely to my dream without becoming too invested in the law such as what a lawyer or public defender would do.

Georgetown has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1 along with many resources to help students if needed. They draw many opportunities such as their study abroad programs that range from Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, and even Africa. As well as many internships to apply for with companies in the area or with the government itself. The graduation rate is 98% and have many majors to choose from. Many famous alumni come back to make speeches or lecture a class including Bill Clinton and Bradley Cooper. The school buildings and campus itself holds so much history, good and bad.

The session soon ended with the usual introduction of the student tour guides to take us along to introduce us to their school. Our tour guide’s name is Christian and is a rising junior. He studies the Fine Arts of History and Political Science. He decided on his major because he loved both and didn’t want to choose between the two. We set forth our journey with a Latin chant representing their school spirit. “Hoya, Saxa” is the what students would chant back and forth showing their pride. It translates to “what rocks” and with a bulldog to be their mascot. He presented us the different buildings where we would take classes depending on the school applying to along with some history behind them. The building where most of the Public Policy graduate students’ classes were held, on the top step is where 14 US presidents have made speeches including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Barack Obama. There was never a dull or tiring moment with our tour, especially with Christian’s awkwardly funny yet cheesy sense of humor. Thanks to him, it was the best tour I have ever witnessed.  

Sad to see the phenomenal tour end as well as depart from the school I soon fell in love with, we were meeting a very important person for lunch. The guest the cohort was all anxious to meet was the ASB President and rising senior at Georgetown University, Chris. He has such a lovely personality attached with his incredible advice. Our lunch spot was a barbecue joint named “Old Glory.” The food took forever for it to come out to us. We weren’t complaining because all of the cohort has been worn out from walking the distance and length of the past couple days.

Group PIcture with Chris
In the meanwhile, all of us were enjoying the company of Chris. He answered all of our questions and relating to college and Georgetown. Chris had told us about how much power the students have and the environment of the community and its diversity. The people there come from different backgrounds all over the world. From rich to poor, US citizen or not, all were welcomed equally. They have financial aid to cover students in need of it the most due to low family income. The mentalities of the students are to build one another up rather than to always try to outdo someone else. They would rather prosper together as a class whole, and if we need help, it would be our responsibility to reach for it while it’s there.

When it comes down to it, we refer back to the motto of my favorite basketball team, the Golden State Warriors, “Strength in Numbers.” This is what the students take advantage of at Georgetown. Because of them preaching and projecting their needed cries to be heard they were able to put a serious change within their school. Back in the day where segregation still existed, Georgetown was on the brink of closing down due to lack of funding. In order to ensure their school not to close down, they ended up selling slaves from down in Louisiana. A lot of times the US tries to cover up or neglect such harsh histories as slavery instead of accepting the wrong that has went on. These students took it upon themselves to fix this and change the name of one of their school’s buildings to “Freedom Remembrance” as a way paying respect to the lives of the slaves sold. Situations like these are motivational to hear and show a great amount of integrity; an environment I definitely would love to be a part of one day.

The outstanding people we have met that day really opened up my eyes to a school that could possibly be for me as well as deep roots and issues within our nation. I am truly grateful to have met these people and is a definite highlight of the day.

Korean War Memorial
The remainder left of the day, John had given us a “fun” history lesson and tour of all the government buildings within DC including the White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol Building, WWII Memorial, WWI Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and Congress with the two branches of the Senate and House of Representatives. These buildings held such similar styles to them but were still wonderful and stunning to lock your eyes on. When we saw the Korean War Memorial and the statues of the soldiers running through, reminded me of the agony war can cause forming a twisted feeling in my stomach. It was sad but historic.

By the time it was finally time to go home I was ready for it. My body needed a serious break, all of us did. As soon as we stepped foot on the bus and into our seats we knocked out quick. It took ten minutes at the most before I had drifted into my relaxing slumber. The past days may have been more than exhausting to the point where the balance in your legs were shaking questionably, but thanks to the ILC and John I was able to experience something with such detail, history, and experience. If I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I know I would, despite my complaining; I loved it. 

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this blog very much Kamillah. You did a great job on it--it was a great read.

    Your photo of the Vietnam War Memorial was one I had never seen before and am especially pleased to see here.