Escape the GW bubble! Go explore D.C.! Take advantage of your location!
Every GW student, from the timid freshman to the jaded senior, has heard this advice during his or her collegiate years. Whether the recommendation came from a house proctor, a Colonial Cabinet member or a columnist on this very page, we’ve all been advised to escape the bounds of our familiar campus and immerse ourselves in the dynamic city around us.
While these words are always spoken with the best intentions, I’m here to tell you – take them with a grain of salt.
I know this might sound crazy to some of you. With such a dynamic political climate and anemic job market, doesn’t it make sense to capitalize on our location while making useful connections in the process? How could anyone, especially a senior, suggest that students stick close to campus?
I’m not advocating for students to ignore the opportunities around them in favor of campus activities. I’m speaking more to my fellow upperclassmen, many of whom think they’re too busy or too important to attend the campus events that drew them to apply to GW in the first place.
Now, desperate to secure employment after graduation, they scamper nervously across city blocks and plow through Metro turnstiles.
But when upperclassmen look down on friends without internships and don’t see student orgs as being worthwhile investments of their time, something is wrong. How quickly they forget that they once aspired to lead those very organizations, inspired by the work of older leaders.
I had forgotten this as well, until I ran into an old friend with whom I had not spoken for several months. A junior, he balances a fulfilling internship on the Hill with a leadership position in one of GW’s largest student orgs. When I asked how this position was going, he talked less about himself and more about the enthusiastic underclassmen that made the job worth doing.
That point reminded me precisely why staying involved on campus is so crucial. There will be plenty of rush-hour commutes and late nights at the office in our lives. But right now we must remember our obligations to underclassmen. They need experienced students to direct their energy, having not yet developed the network of connections and know-how that come with years of experience. By imparting our knowledge, we make a down payment on our community and ensure a vibrant campus scene for future generations of Colonials.
So next time you’re thinking about an additional internship or job, consider the clubs and organizations that could use your experience. Think about the people and causes that inspired you long ago. And most of all, remember why you came to GW.
As notorious slacker Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
And his point holds true. Let’s support our campus community and set a good example for underclassmen. The work never ends, but college certainly does. Don’t miss it.
-The writer, a senior majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet columnist.
Readers can visit the Forum to comment on this column.