All college students have lost a year of their normal college experience, but the Class of 2021 has taken an especially hard blow, losing what should have been a memorable last year on campus.
Last spring brought an abrupt end to their time as undergraduates, and for many seniors, it was the last time they set foot on campus. So before GW’s seniors head onto the rest of their lives, we asked them to answer a few questions about their college experiences that have been capstoned by a pandemic.
We posed open-ended questions asking seniors to reflect on their college experience, come up with their best advice for incoming freshmen and to take a guess about what the world will look like 10 years from now.
With mixed emotions, here’s what they said:
Reflect on your college experience. What is your main takeaway from the past four years?
“Don’t be afraid to push back against the parts of your college experience that don’t work for you. You pay GW, not the other way around. If your needs aren’t being met, make a lot of noise to as many people as you can. Also, once you find your people at college, all of the parts of it that suck will be a lot easier.”
“Should’ve gone to a cheaper school, would’ve had the same job prospects anyway (none).”
“College is what you make of it. Little comes to you on a silver platter — make your own opportunities and luck.”
“Live like you’re spending the rest of college on Zoom, starting tomorrow.”
“Cherish your time here, at some point you’ll look back and want more of it.”
“Although GW wasn’t perfect, I’m so grateful for all the academic and professional experiences I’ve had at the school. I really feel like GW gave me the opportunity to take part in a lot of unique experiences and position myself very well for a future career.”
Drop one or two sentences with your best advice for incoming freshmen.
“If you are a disabled incoming student at GW, make sure to get registered and in contact with [Disability Support Services] as early as possible, and DO NOT live on the Mount Vernon campus. All of GW is honestly shamefully inaccessible but the Vern is the worst.”
“Trust no one, they are all trying to take your money or your job.”
“Embrace your first year residential community! My strongest friendships are all from there.”
“Write like a person. Never, ever be afraid to speak up and be wrong.”
“Focus less on internships as a freshman. Focus more on getting to know D.C. outside Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, the mall, downtown, Capitol Hill and Chinatown. It’s a big city!”
“One, enjoy every day of college while it lasts, I definitely took my time here for granted. Two, think intentionally about the experiences, internships and classes – try to find a niche you are interested in and that will help distinguish you in whatever field you enter.”
“No, you don’t know more about politics than your professors who work on the Hill just because you watch John Oliver’s show.”
Take a stab at predicting the future (of politics, technology, culture, media, etc.). Where will we be in a decade?
“Hopefully in a more just, safe world. It’s up to you guys! I bet you’ll do incredible things.”
“There won’t be a future, we’ll all be underwater or nuked.”
“Ten years from now, Netflix will not be the most dominant streaming service.”
“The next Democratic president after Biden will be Andrew Yang, not Kamala Harris.”
“GW will still be a real estate company.”
“2030 politics: most of the current socialists will have completed their transformation into rank-and-file Republicans by this point.”