Short Reflections on Graduation from Georgetown University

Today I graduated from Georgetown University. It was an experience that featured nervousness, boredom, excitement, numbness, and contentment—a wide range of emotions I largely felt at a loss to describe. Even so, I intend to write down just a few reflections on my college experience now, before I go to sleep for the first time as an official university graduate.

First, this weekend's events helped me reconsider what brought me to Georgetown in the first place: I wanted a first-class education with truly global perspectives. After four years, I can state without a doubt that I received exactly that—a wonderful series of educational experiences that opened, reoriented, and strengthened my beliefs and intellect through consideration of knowledge from around the world. At the same time, though, Georgetown helped to bring me home, both in my intellectual pursuits and in my plans for the near future. Many of my experiences at Georgetown, good and bad, helped further my pursuit of the maxim "know thyself," but perhaps more importantly, I also grew to understand more deeply another aphorism of Greek origin: "I know that I know nothing."

Events of yesterday and today also reminded me of some of the pretentions and self-promoting propaganda that exist at the university and among its students. To be sure, these aspects of the Georgetown experience only popped up now and again, and I know that every one of us who graduated today has much more maturation and education ahead, some of it hopefully humbling. More troubling is the tendency of some sections of the university to give uncritical and unqualified reverence to power. I hope that this will change in the future with the application of just a little more awareness, compassion, and wisdom.

Today I received a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service—a degree I know will support me in seeking to serve others, though not necessarily in a "foreign" context. I also ended a four-year project of intense education and self-development, a path with twists, turns, triumphs, setbacks, hiatuses, and changes of scene, whether it was to Strasbourg in Alsace, France for a semester or to Rosslyn across the Potomac from Georgetown for this year. I owe great debts to many people for supporting me on this path: My girlfriend, my parents and siblings, other family members, teachers and professors, friends and mentors past and present. Of course, most important to all of them will be what I do in my future, and on that I will write more soon.

Georgetown cherry blossoms in bloom in April
with Rosslyn's tall buildings in the background