DC Diary: Following the tour of all tours

The Visitors Center
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
3 p.m.

I couldn’t take another boring day of classes, so I set out to have some fun. And what better way to do that than by taking a tour of GW? Seriously now, I don’t know what got into me, but walking around for an hour and listening to someone brag about our school just seemed more appealing than falling asleep in Funger 103.

The tour started off with the standard view of the Visitor’s Center and the Academic Center – the one with all the windows and students looking out wishing they were outside like me. As the tour moved into the Gelman Library, the guide pointed out the 24-hour computer labs, which I noticed were being used more for instant messaging and e-mail than research assignments.

As we left the library we walked past Kogan Plaza, where I couldn’t help but thank the powers that be that there wasn’t a smoothie and tampon festival going on this week – no prospective student needs that kind of influence.

The tour quickly darted across H Street and into the Marvin Center, the busiest and most crowded place on campus. Some friends were calling me over to eat with them the finest and most exquisite of what J Street had to offer: Taco Bell, of course. But with little time and no motivation, I remained focused on this highly informational tour I was getting. The place was bustling with long lines and lots of hungry people. I really wanted a Jamba Juice, but, low on points, I could only gaze from far behind the Einstein Bagel line, which was so long it had people wrapped around the aisles in Provisions.

The guide went on to tell us about the Hippodrome, the fifth-floor hang out with the only bowling alley in town besides the one that George W. plays on. The tour made its way out of the Marvin Center across the street to Lisner Auditorium and then it hit me. Literally, that giant Hippo thing bumped into me on the way down the steps. What’s the deal with this school anyway? That’s our mascot?

Dusting myself off, I picked up my gear and made my way back to the rest of the group who had already made it through the strategically placed Quad to fraternity row, or better known to everyone on campus simply as G Street. The three fraternity houses that exist look like they barely exist at all, complete with trash on the steps and loud music to boot.

Making our way down the street, I kept hoping a shoe wouldn’t fall from the tree on someone’s head. Yet the famous tree couldn’t be avoided. A mother asked curiously about the abundance of footwear in the foliage above. The tour guide quickly and calmly answered with a story about some fraternity tradition where brothers receiving a 4.0 GPA have their shoes triumphantly thrown into the tree. I guess that’s what’s bringing up our school’s GPA, huh?

We passed the Law School, the only top 25 school at GW, and collided into three other tour groups at Thurston Hall, where all we got was dirty looks and complaints from the residents about how slow we were getting through the door.

Getting into Thurston was the toughest part of the day. Even a tour guide with a nametag can’t be trusted. Swipe after swipe after swipe, I got the feeling that we were entering some sort of high security area. It’s no wonder that the freshmen are crazy, unsupervised and looking for a party: it’s the Thurston Syndrome.

After checking out a room that was enviously larger than my own in Thurston, complete with a full-size fridge for plentiful beer storage, the tour moved down F Street and past the Smith Center, where they haven’t hung a men’s basketball banner since the Jarvis days.
The tour ended up in front of the Hell Well, the absolute best place on campus to scout some college hotties. I saw the looks from those high school senior boys. I knew exactly what they were thinking. When those very attractive ladies took to the stretching mats, not a man in the room was paying attention to the swimming pool, two floors of basketball courts – and how much did this place cost again?

The tour was just about over, and my expectations were more than exceeded. I had no complaints. It was either that or sit through another lecture from a class I didn’t even want to register for, but registration totally closed me out from. Now that’s another story, one that no tour guide could possibly help me through.

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