Students know there are certain cardinal sins one can commit at GW. If you wear sweatpants to class or demonstrate even a bit of school spirit, you’ve made unacceptable life decisions.
But I’ve had to come to grips recently with the fact that I’m blatantly spitting in the face of the GW gods. That’s right: I’m not studying abroad.
As November brings abroad acceptances and purchased plane tickets for a large swath of the junior class, I’ve faced one pressing question: What the hell am I doing staying on campus?
If you were to ask the people preparing to refine their palates and learn foreign curse words in cities like Paris, Prague and Copenhagen, I might as well be a foolish plebeian who is stuck within the confines of downtown D.C.
I’ve heard all the presumptive stereotypes: Those who elect to stay on campus have wimped out when faced with the prospect of being an ocean’s distance from their mommies. They’ve become too comfortable with their settled-in, D.C. homebody status. They’re close-mindedly timid about embracing a foreign culture.
The statistics add pressure, too: 50.5 percent of GW undergraduates study abroad. Last week, the University was even called one of the top 25 schools in the country that sends students abroad.
Though potentially well-meaning, the sometimes judgmental questioning from enlightened study-abroad veterans can feel utterly relentless: “When will you have another chance to travel? To have an unlimited amount of ‘you’ time?”
What the globetrotters say may be valid. But I’d like to propose an argument of my own.
I want another full year to capitalize on all things GW. Forgive us campus-based pariahs for opting to stay involved with those oh-so-useless campus activities like the Student Association or Interfraternity Council and those misguided internships with the Smithsonian Institutes or National Geographic.
Yes, there may be huge opportunities to go to a Hofbräuhaus and drink out of beer steins that I, left here in the uncultured and horribly commonplace capital of our own country, won’t have the opportunity to experience. But, I say, those great opportunities aren’t confined to the age range of 18 to 22.
I’d take four full years at GW – and all the opportunities that come with it – in a heartbeat.