First Post From Georgetown

Much more has happened than I could possibly describe. I arrived in Washington DC the night of Friday, August 28th, and I've been at Georgetown University for eight full days, during three of which I've had class. Today is my second Sunday at GU, and the second on which I have not attended religious services. I did however go to the Student Activites Commission Fair today, and I signed up for information on a variety of different Georgetown organizations. The one that I'm perhaps most excited about is Habitat for Humanity, because I actually do really love construction, and I think it's the best way I've found to do service for others. For the rest of my day I may do reading, laundry, a few things for my classes, and then maybe watch a movie.

College so far has been a mix of many things: overscheduling, complete boredom, disappointment and incredible impressiveness. My class schedule, however, is quite interesting, and there isn't an opposite to fit it either:

French begins my Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Monday and Wednesday, French is followed by Principles of Microeconomics, and then History of Asian Cultures, with another round of Econ coming after that on Wednesdays in the form of my recitation period. Tuesday only has one class - my proseminar - which is actually the only class I haven't been to yet, but will be my first of the week, considering that tomorrow is Labor Day. On Thursdays and Fridays I have my International Relations class, which got off to a very amicable start when the professor began class last Thursday by saying he wouldn't take up the whole period and that we wouldn't have class the next day.

The only class I've had more than once so far is French, which is pretty challenging because I get the impression that the professor is never going to speak English for extended periods during class. On the first day I swear she said no more than ten English words, and on Friday it was hardly any more - and all those were spent clarifying her instructions for us to get a money order, which I doubt anyone had understood in French. French is in fact the only class I received homework for this weekend, but I can't even do it until my books arrive.

Speaking of books, I think that college books are ridiculous. In each of my classes there have been specific books assigned by my professor. When you go to the college bookstore though, the prices of these assignments are horrific. A small and pretty thin volume required for French class costs over one hundred dollars; a pretty thin economics textbook is even more. Thankfully in economics my professor has stated that the textbook is not at all necessary, but for all my other classes, (besides my proseminar which I still don't know the books for), the costs of the assigned books at their cheapest price at the college bookstore was...

Six hundred and five dollars.

That's the cost of the books for three classes in one semester. But here's the good part: I did not buy any of these books at the bookstore. I went to a magical place described by the adjective online - and there I found those same books that would have cost $605 and bought them for...

One hundred and five dollars. No joke. I saved five hundred dollars on textbooks.

The actual price of these books was even less than that. For many of the books the shipping cost was more than the price or was about the same. Granted, almost all of these books are both used and an older edition, and I will have to deal with whatever problems come of that. Fortunately none of my professors have expressed any particular distaste for students buying older editions, as I've heard some people say their professors have said, but when there are readings for certain pages I will have to adjust myself accordingly. Hopefully there won't be much used in my classes that's exclusive to the most current volumes. Even if there is, I don't think it would have been worth the cost.

Before all this school stuff even began, I went for four full days through what is called here NSO - New Student Orientation. Most new students enjoy NSO, most get tired of it; most appreciate it, and most are annoyed by it. All of the above fit my views as well. The orientation was, in short, a mixed bag, just as all of college has been so far.

We did a ton of activities during NSO, but the highlights were probably the student convocation, when were officially brought into the Georgetown community, and the activites I did with my orientation group, which was made up of freshmen on my floor and in another living and learning community nearby. Orientation culminated with a bike ride my group did around DC, which was really a great experience, despite my intial doubts about my bike-riding abilities. (I did just fine.)

I have, however, left you in the dark about the phrase "living and learning community" which I just casually threw at the reader a moment ago. Let me explain.

Most freshmen who enroll at Georgetown University are randomly assigned to freshman housing buildings, which can be: Village C - a mega-complex of stacked up students, New South - a cramped little building cramped among other cramped buildings, Harbin - a strangely segregated tower, and Darnell - the place that every freshman prays they are not assigned. There are, however, a select few who decide to fill out an application to live in special places - living and learning communities. These are special floors where you aren't surrounded only by freshmen and where everyone you live with is tied together by common interests. The community I live in is entitled Justice and Diversity in Action, and as far as I can tell it is the preemminent LLC on campus. JDA is on a floor in an upperclass housing building, meaning that my room and surroundings are a step above whatever other freshmen can get. Even more importantly, however, I live with a whole bunch of cool people, from seniors to the best freshmen of the class - like me. :)

Just in case my "mixed bag" comments are making me seem grayer than I am, my time at Georgetown really has been great so far. I've had my downs over the past eight days, just as would be understandable for anyone, but I know that I'm going to make my time here incredibly positive, and although I have TOTALLY different reasons behind saying this than the rapper Asher Roth, I will join him in saying this: I love college!

Comments

  1. Aren't you glad I insisted that bike riding is a life skill that you should learn?! Riding around the monuments on the Mall sounds like it was a lot of fun! Did you know your Grandpa Mac volunteered for Habitat for Humanity? He enjoyed construction and helping others too. Habitat is justice and diversity in action!

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  2. Hey sweetie!

    Glad to hear that you're having a good time. I love you! You seem to be adjusting to college life well. I'm sure that you're going to have a fantastic year.

    Love,
    Kristina

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