Finally Posted: Fun Times and Portents at AU

It has been nearly a year since my "east coast college trip" which my dad took me on last April before I had to decide where I was going to school. We flew to DC and then drove up to Princeton and Yale, stopping in Philadelphia on the way back to DC, where I took part in weekend programs for both American and Georgetown. The ironic result of the trip was that Georgetown was the place where I actually had the least fun. I don't even have any pictures of me being there! - and I have many from the other schools. The trip was enjoyable and educational, and I think it was very good that I got to see and compare both American and Georgetown. Ultimately, Princeton and Yale didn't accept me off their wait lists and my choice was really between AU, GU, and Macalester. My decision was essentially to go for the best - and I don't regret it one bit.

I do regret, however, not having blogged much much more about the second half of the trip. I did write a pretty good amount several days after getting home - and even then you'll read that I was disappointed in not having written sooner. Anyway, here is that excerpt, which I titled "Fun Times and Portents at AU," and then after it I will relate a few more memories.

28 April 2009, 23:53
Unfortunately, (or perhaps not so unfortunately), I am now reporting on the events of my recent trip to the east coast in retrospect. At this time I have already sent off the enrollment materials for the college of my choice. I won't ruin things for you, though. Let's just think back to the 22nd, less than a week ago. If you remember the last installment, my dad and I had stopped in Philly to visit with another Ketchikanian out east. After dinner we went to the Penn bookstore, which was interesting, but somewhat disappointing as they closed the store on us and refused to let us buy a few things. One might think that would be in their interest to allow that, but who knows with them city folk. As we drove out of Philadelphia that evening, I did what seemed to be a significant amount of napping in the car. Possible points of interest on the drive, in turn, seemed significantly less significant. Pretty late in the night we arrived at a hotel in Maryland just outside DC. I actually don't quite understand how I apparently posted "Yale and Back Again" at 21:54. Either that isn't true, or somehow I was blogging much earlier than I imagined that night.
In the morning, I was still pretty groggy. This was Thursday the 23rd, so we had and honors program at American University to attend. We drove into DC's outskirts and I remember being awakened for a bit to look out at a Mormon temple - or at least its crazy spires - leering down at us from above the trees. Come to think of it, I don't remember seeing any trees that struck me as particularly tall. Sure, the east isn't as bad as Anchorage, but still. I suppose though I should be thankful that they have trees at all, right? Just kidding... Forgive me my stereotyping.
That morning was sunny and grand, but not very hot. On arrival at American, we looked out at some sunny building sides before parking in a sunny lot and crossing from one sunny side of the street to the other. We passed through campus and had to ask around a bit before figuring out where the building we needed to be at was. Inside the building (which was a dormitory, but obviously not on its main level, which was where we were) I signed in and got a few things before going in and listening to a guy who I believe was the director of the university's honors program. He had already begun, but he talked about a lot of important things, including the importance of location, the middle-way between small and large schools AU provides, and the specific opportunities for honors students.
What I remember most about AU is my overnight stay with one of its students - a guy from Wisconsin currently in Azerbaijan. (I know because we're Facebook friends - and he even told me last year he was learning Azeri.) He was very nice and I had a great time; we walked around campus and out in DC in the middle of the night, which was great. I was, however, not that impressed with AU's dorms and other buildings - or with what seemed to be a pervasive fraternity culture.

When I visited Georgetown the next day, everything seemed much more standard, with tours and information sessions and lecture events planned for the parents and prospective students (which didn't seem as useful to my judgement of a college compared to the real classes I sat in on while visiting Princeton and Yale). Nevertheless, I saw that Georgetown was a very beautiful place with great academic programs, and now I know that even more.

Just a week or two ago, two high school juniors from LA spent the night in my room as part of their own big east coast college trip. I told them about my own experiences, including walking around DC in the middle of the night, and although we didn't do that we did stay up talking for a while. I answered all their questions and helped out all could, and although they said their interests weren't SFS things like me, Georgetown is a great place to be for pretty much anyone (when you determine its worth the cost). I think the most important thing I said was one of the last - "Well, my junior year of high school wasn't that great, but you guys have got to know that being seniors will be amazing." What I didn't say, but I certainly know it to be true, is this: Life will get even better every year after that.


  1. You still don't exactly say why you chose GU (Hoya Saxa!), but the school does seem to fit you well, you seem to be happy there, and you are making the best of your education at SFS. All that makes your mum and dad pleased and proud! BTW, where do they get those weird words for the "word verification?"


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