Diana Kugel: Inaugurating the Class of 2011

Chances are that if you are reading this at CI, you are probably going on maybe four hours of sleep, so I won’t take it personally if you don’t make it past the third paragraph. After all, there is only so much “Go GW!” spirit that any individual can take in 48 hours before they are ready to pass out from sheer exhaustion.

I know because exactly one year ago, I was sitting in that very same Lisner Auditorium, listening aptly to University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg (fondly referred to as SJT) addressing my peers and me, and watching the Colonial Cabinet make a spectacle of itself.

As overdone as CI sometimes appears, it is in the most literal sense an inauguration into what it means to be a true GW student. Most colleges view orientation as a simple half-day event where students can buy books and sign waivers. GW, as you will quickly learn, has much more of a “go big or go home” attitude.

While the laser light show may be superfluous, all of the fuss and preparation that goes into CI is effective in its efforts to make newly accepted students feel welcome. And while sometimes GW does overdo it when trying to uphold a certain image, you may as well get used to things being done on a large scale.

After all, we have to keep up with the pace of the amazing city we live in. While the friends that you make who come from New York or Los Angeles may argue that it doesn’t really live up, D.C. is one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in America.

Of course, I don’t really have to tell you this. Chances are that GW’s location in the heart of the nation’s capital played at least a minimal role in your decision to come here in the first place. I’m sure that in the two and a half days that you spend here over CI, ,you will be dragged to some combination of the monuments, White House, Kennedy Center, etc. However, when you come back in the fall, do yourself a favor and go see them again when you aren’t going at 200 miles an hour. As trite as it sounds, there is really nothing like watching the sun rise from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

And as revolutionary as it sounds, there is no one to stop you. While everyone is coming from a different background, it is safe to say that you have never before had as much freedom as you will experience come September. Take advantage of it. Don’t be stupid and get yourself kicked out of school, but please, take advantage of these four years when really, all that you have to answer to is yourself. Well, yourself and the University Police Department that is.

Really, the Class of 2011 is joining the GW community at a very unique time. After nearly two decades as University president, SJT is stepping down and handing the reins over to Steven Knapp. While the change may not seem that radical from a newcomer’s point of view, we will all feel the effects of the change, and probably sooner rather than later. The general feeling on campus seems to be one of curiosity at how policies and the administration may change – and lucky for you, you will have four years to see how it all plays out.

But that will all come with time. For now, enjoy CI. Go home and Facebook everyone that you said hello to in the past three days and spend the rest of the summer leaving each other wall posts about how you can’t believe there are only X number of days until move-in. Drag your mom to Target to buy silverware and towels. Brag to your friends about how cool it is that you’re going to be living in D.C. And last but not least, don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Hatchet when you come back at in the fall (p.s. there’s usually Sudoku in the back).

Oh, and one more thing – you don’t really need extra long sheets.

-The author, a sophomore majoring in

psychology, is a Hatchet contributing editor.

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