It’s OK to have a nontraditional GW experience

Irene Ly, a sophomore majoring in psychology, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

Before going off to college, most of us were probably anticipating the “traditional” college life: dorms, parties and all-nighters at the library during finals.

Once students commit to GW and head off to Colonial Inauguration, they might anticipate something else – the GW experience, complete with exploring the monuments late at night, listening to prominent figures speak on campus and studying at landmark locations.

These might be the experiences students expect, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones worth having. If you’re a freshman at CI, be open to a variety of experiences. And if – like me – you’re having or will have a non-traditional college experience, you should embrace it.

Students come to GW from all over the country and all over the world. But I’m part of a small population: I commute from Falls Church, Va. to campus every day. Since Metro stops and buses are easily accessible, my commute is relatively hassle-free and takes just half an hour. Plus, avoiding University housing has saved me a lot of money.

My attitude toward commuting initially fluctuated. Some days I had absolutely no problem with it. But sometimes it was easy to blame my loneliness on living off campus instead of in a dorm. At times I resented that I wasn’t like every other college student.

You may identify with my experience, or you may be having a completely different one altogether. But no matter how your time at GW is structured, you should make the most of it. Whether or not you’re living the college life you expected, don’t feel like you have to fit into a neat little box.

Now finished with my first year, I’ve come to accept my situation and what it’s taught me about myself. I realized that living on-campus wouldn’t have made much of a difference, because I prefer coffee dates and hanging out with a few friends to fraternity parties and clubs.

My life is what I make of it. I live at home, but I have still made friends, have an on-campus job and I’m learning from this year’s mistakes by pushing myself to get more involved in student organizations in the fall.

Whether you live off campus like me, are a part-time student, have a job instead of joining student organizations, are an international student, or anything else that makes your GW experience a little different, remember that it’s OK. There are other students here just like you.

I know my college experience isn’t what most others envision, but it is what I’ve built for myself. Get started building yours, too.

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