There is nothing worse than the kindergarten teacher-like demeanor of the Colonial Cabinet at Colonial Inauguration. The last thing incoming students need is an idealistic, super upbeat, completely positive assessment of what is to come in their next four years in D.C. If you haven’t figured it out by now, GW is not simply what is portrayed to you by your caring Colonial Cabinet member.
What I remember most, besides the distinct odor of one of my assigned roommates on the first floor of Thurston, was that nobody at CI was able to talk straight to me. I wanted to get a better idea about how life would be in D.C. and at GW and instead I got a laser-light show proclaiming the hippo as the central element of campus life. This is to not diminish CI, which is good for what it is, this is just to make freshmen aware that your perceptions of GW from CI are far from complete. Life at GW will most definitely not be as good, or as bad, as you think it will be right now.
What is definitely true is that GW is one of the most unique colleges in the country and is blistering with opportunity, but many of you, it is sad to say, will never realize this opportunity. That is because GW is not an easy place to figure out. Everything is not laid on a golden platter like at a large state school or typical liberal-arts school.
I have always thought of GW as much more of a self-starter school where the next four years are entirely what you make of it. You will not be able to blindly follow the herd to house parties and other gatherings to make your friends. Most will have to create a social scene of their own. It is really quite different than other schools with large campuses, but it is exhilarating and mature if one is able to enjoy the challenge.
The incoming class is one of the smartest ever and that should tell you something about GW. It is a school in transition, attempting to forever leave the second tier behind in its quest for Top 50 status, which can only be good for GW.
If I have any advice, it would be to get involved with campus life in some way or another. Join one of the hundreds of clubs, write for The Hatchet, go Greek or even become a University tool. Campus life is easy to miss if you do not dive straight into it. Most of the people I hear complain about GW are either not involved or just unhappy to begin with.
Most of you will probably to learn to love D.C. and GW, but most will almost assuredly have some grievances with the University. We hope our opinions page will be a place where these grievances can be discussed.
There is no doubt freshmen will soon pick up on the common GW complaints. To list just a few: study abroad options are limited, there is a wide disparity in housing choices, 4-RIDE takes too long, some of the students and professors suck, the package pick-up system is ludicrous, the Health and Wellness Center has too long of line for the treadmill, we pay $40,000 for this?
I sincerely hope that before incoming freshman enter into the chorus of complaints that sometimes flood The Hatchet inbox, you give yourself all the chances to succeed by opening up to a different kind of college life that some have come to cherish. Despite any negative first impressions that you have from your corny CI leader or your gross roommate, there are too many opportunities and activities at GW to not be optimistic.
-The writer, a junior majoring in International Affairs, is Hatchet opinions editor.