The Rasta culture of Jamaica, the wild slopes of the Rockies, big-wave surfing off of Hawaii or even another tranquil week in the pre-tourist season at the Jersey shore? Negative. For me, I spent my first college Spring Break right here in D.C. in a week of virtual solitude. The cleaning staff and me spending quality time together.
So two questions arise: what could I possibly do for a week by myself at GW, and why would I want to stay on our deserted campus in this nine-to-five pseudo city in the first place?
So I took solace in the eerie silence of Thurston Hall for the week, swearing to catch up on work and explore D.C. a little bit more to find out why I came to this obscure place to begin with.
After finishing a big journalism paper, due at 11 a.m. the day before break began, I turned in the paper, stumbled back to my room passing neighbors and fellow Thurstonians rolling their suitcases to the Super Shuttle.
I made it back to my room and hit my roommate’s bed since I was too worthless to even make it to my top bunk. Neighbors came in, said their goodbyes, my roommates packed up and headed out – two going back home to New Hampshire and Massachusetts and the other heading to a Florida condo in search of Anna Kournikova.
I was forced to leave my room at least once a day to get food. Now, food at GW is scarce past 8 p.m. during the week and anytime on the weekends, so it was little surprise that I was emaciated by the second day. I began rifling through my roommate’s belongings, looking for food, money for food, pictures of food, things that smelled like food, etc. No luck.
Our refrigerator and shelves of food still had the same crackers, non-dairy creamers and an unearthly amount of couscous we hadn’t eaten since the first care package came in September. So I was forced to wake up early every day, go to Provisions Market for the few hours it was open and purchase whatever microwavable meal was stocked that morning.
On Tuesday the Thurston Hall jesters decided to play another round of Can-You-Top-This by turning off the water and heat in the building.
Despite everything GW threw at me, somehow, Mother Nature shined on me during Spring Break. Towards the end of the week, but still days before anyone returned to campus, the weather took a surprising upturn, giving D.C. a little bit of early spring.
I grabbed my running shoes and hit the streets, down to the always-picturesque monument route.
Although I had heard about the cherry blossoms, I never knew it was as big a tourist attraction as David Hasselhoff at EuroDisney. Thousands upon thousands of people obstructed my running route, but I couldn’t complain. I was stunned when I hit the Tidal Basin, so much that I stopped running and just sat down to take in the new spring color added to the city.
For each of the next three days, I threw some CDs, books and food into my bag and wandered around downtown in awe of my surroundings. Everything from extra ice-cream vendors out for the week to the kite festival made the week worthwhile.
Eventually, the cherry blossoms peaked and shed their natural beauty; my roommates returned with stories of drunken escapades; the blossom I took off a tree near the Washington Monument turned brown with age.
After a week by myself on campus, without adequate food and without actually catching up on any schoolwork, I still had memories of a wonder of nature right here in our own city, a festival of spring most of the school skipped right over.