At the start of every semester, I keep trying to get back that feeling I got at Colonial Inauguration. I try to get back the excitement of staying up all night getting to know my new neighbors. And I try to get back that motivation to explore D.C.
Why was freshman year so much more appealing than any other? Each year at GW has its own unique experiences and should be equally enticing. But in comparison, freshmen year was just a whirlwind of events and new people.
From the perspective of student organizations and the University, it is not that the events, opportunities or expectations have changed. Instead, the students themselves have changed. Freshmen distinguish themselves from upperclassmen in one simple way – they just more eager to branch out.
For three years, I have seen many of the same faces and the same organizations. Personally, I think that is fine. It is understandable if not everyone wants to participate in the same way, but the problem is that many people don’t participate at all.
These are the same people who then criticize GW for not having school spirit, arguing that the campus lacks cohesiveness and just does not present enough opportunities. It is hypocritical to state that the school does not promote student social interaction if you do not make the effort to go to even one of the many free social events both on and off campus.
While this may not apply to every individual, after freshmen year, most students slowly begin to fall into their own individual niches. Even the fourth floor of Marvin Center, where most student organizations’ offices are, has become a niche of its own.
As someone who is involved in student organizations, one of my greatest challenges is to simply get people to come out to events. Organizations work hard to promote events, but students get bombarded with listserv emails and Facebook events, conditioning them to tune out.
The best way to change this cycle is for students to simply engage themselves more. It may be as easy as just reading an e-mail. It is a big school in a big city, which means there will never be a lack of people to meet and things to try. Ditch that house party with the same people and go explore D.C.
Of course there is the 21-year-old divide. The quest for a drunken weekend often brought us together as freshmen. But upperclassmen need not lose hope – they can still relive the thrills of freshman year, and legally, too.
One of the greatest and simplest ways to meet people has been through class. But lets face it, after freshman year, we stop socializing as much with people in our classes, if we go to them at all.
So, go to class. Start a conversation with the person next to you. Go beyond the impersonal nod or wave when you see that guy or girl from Friday’s party. Who knows, it may lead to a new friend, or at worst someone to get notes from.
So whether it’s in your class, through a student organization, by going Greek or getting involved in GW’s nightlife, make a little extra effort. Step out of your routine by meeting people outside of your normal social circle.
You are here for four years. It would be a shame to limit your enthusiasm to just the first.
The writer is a junior majoring in business.