Jessica on CampusBy Jessica Santemma
hey say college is the best time of your life, and I’d believe it. I am a freshman in the undergraduate program at The George Washington University and, could not be happier. Everything from the strong programs offered to the intense political excitement; the incredible friends I’ve made to the less than ideal food situation combine to make the GWU experience an intellectual, hilarious, busy and fulfilling one. My dorm, Thurston Hall, is so great and so intimidating. It houses 1,100 freshmen on 9 floors – wow. So many people are in the same place at once but if their doors are closed, they seem close yet far. Many of my friends outside of school have between 30 to 90 kids in their dorms – we have over 100 on each floor. It’s a factory, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Being at college and depending on myself for everything from getting a healthy meal to making a doctor’s appointment (though I admit still calling my Mom to intervene on occasion), I have learned a lot. I went to the same small school from age three to age eighteen, so faculty, students and parents knew each other pretty well. Now I attend a university with over 9,000 undergraduate students and what seems like limitless staff. Professors here don’t know “trivial” personal information that my grade school teachers knew, like that in fifth grade my dog died, my overall grades or social reputation. It’s the same way with the entire student body here at GW – everyone has a clean slate. You can be exactly who you want to be, be involved in exactly what you want to be involved in. It’s a very refreshing feeling that can be applied to any new experience, whether a new job, relationship, friendship or address and town. That experiences are precisely what you make of them. These changes, and by extension life, is all about pursuing your dreams, trying new things and practicing at them. We can fail and succeed at life, and take advantage of our surroundings and opportunities. That’s a beautiful thing.
Youth and Role Models
One thing we can learn from Hollywood, however, is our fixation with changing the past and regret. The recent movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a perfect example of this because it is about age progression and lessons understood. While I haven’t actually seen the film, I have researched it and do understand that it conceptually proves that life is improved with, not hampered by, pain. It reminds us to focus on whatever has happened, good or bad, and to learn from the past, rather than regretting and condoning it. Although we cannot live our lives backwards or change our pasts, we can look to our role models and see how they have changed their pasts for better or for worse. We can learn what they have done right and what they have done wrong and learn from their mistakes as well as our own, and look to handle situations similarly to how they handle them.