Looking back as a senior


March 24, 2024

This past Friday I had the very cool opportunity to talk to some of the newly admitted students at Georgetown and share my Georgetown experience with them by giving the Senior Speech. The task was for me to give a speech and share my Georgetown experience and hopefully give them a glimpse of what their experience could be like. It was such a fun task to be given, as I feel like I often do a lot of reflective writing on this blog, but I never share that aloud with people and an audience.

Sometimes I forget that I’m a college senior, like there was no ah-ha moment of thinking okay now I’m a senior or a feeling of I’ve got it all figured out. I know I’m a very different person than I was when I was a freshmen but honestly sometimes I still feel the exact same as I did back then. Doing something like this where I had to purposely reflect back on my Georgetown experience and share it with others gave me one of those rare moments of thinking wow, I’m a senior, I’ve really been through a lot here.

It was kind of a surreal experience to be able to speak in (in my opinion) the prettiest building in Georgetown to a room full of people who are just about to start out their college experience. I felt like I wanted to tell each of them what a fun and memorable experience they are about to embark on. I’ll share my speech a little later on in this post, but for context it had something to do with Taylor Swift (classic Yasmin moment) and it was a lot of fun to put together a fun piece of writing like that. I think there’s something so powerful about being creative in things like this; with any project or assignment I’m given, I love to find a creative way to make it a little different and I think it worked out here!

It was also just a lovely experience to talk to people after giving that speech and hear them so excited about what their time at Georgetown could hold. Surprisingly a lot of people came up to me and told me that the speech brought them to tears (so you’ll have to let me know in the comments if it did the same for you). It’s just exciting to potentially be a part of the beginning of their Georgetown journey as I know that I personally still remember those people who were the most impactful at the beginning of my journey.

So without further ado, here’s what I shared with them! I actually shared a snippet of this in a past blog post, but here’s the full works.

When I got told that I had the opportunity to share my experiences at Georgetown with you, I knew that I wanted to start by telling you a little story. So here we go…

One weekend during my first fall semester on campus my dad came to visit and I remember us taking a walk; I can still picture it vividly, it was a quiet Sunday evening and we were walking on 36th Street, right by Wisey’s (which you’ll soon come to know is a classic Georgetown spot), and he said something to me that I’ve been thinking about a lot now that I’m nearing the end of my senior year on the hilltop.

I remember I was pretty teary as we took our walk, as I always was in that first semester when I thought about how far I was from home; through the tears I was telling my dad how I felt sort of overwhelmed with school, how I didn’t know if I was smart enough to be here at Georgetown, I was telling him about how I still didn’t feel at home here, and how the Leo’s food didn’t taste one bit like our home food. To that he said to me, why are you so stressed? You are so lucky to be here at Georgetown to get an education, you need to make the most of your four years. He said, when I look back to college those were some of the best years with special memories and I wish I could be young and experience that again. You don’t want to let four years pass you by in a haze of stress and fear.

That moment, even though it was just a walk, marked a pointed turn in how I viewed my Georgetown experience. Looking back at it now as a senior, I’ve been getting pretty emotional thinking about that moment. I think my past self on that walk would be so proud of how my four years at Georgetown have been spent and also super excited that I get to share that with you today.

As I share my Georgetown experience, instead of just listing experiences and forcing you to listen to me, I thought I would do it in a fun way. As a huge Taylor Swift fan, I’ve decided to take a leaf from her book and give a name to each “era” of my time at Georgetown. So here you go, this is the Georgetown Eras Tour – or Eras Speech, Yasmin’s Version.

To start us off, I have to call my first Era at Georgetown the “stuck at home era.” To give you a little background on me, I’m actually an international student from London and Dubai. So I actually started off my Georgetown experience, not here on the hilltop, but back home in Dubai in my bedroom during the pandemic. My first class of college was not in some impressive Georgetown building, but at my desk in the middle of the night. 

My go to outfit for class was a pair of pajama shorts on the bottom and something a little more formal on the top. Contrary to what you may think, despite being 9 hours ahead of everyone else and seven thousand miles away from campus, I made some great friends and lasting memories that year. There was something very special about that year, as each connection I made felt all the more special because of the work that went into maintaining those relationships from so far away, and I think that’s very unique to the type of people you’ll find at Georgetown. From that year I still remember the weekly hangouts with friends on Zoom, waking up at 4am to go to Econ recitation, and making my first ever midterm season extra painful by getting three of my wisdom teeth removed at one time – would not recommend! It was not the most conventional freshmen year, but it holds a special place in my heart.

The next era of my Georgetown experience is the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” era. While that might not sound like a particularly positive name, it was the most impactful era I’ve had here at Georgetown. This era started out with me coming to campus for the first time for my Sophomore year. I remember move-in-day because it’s where I actually met Jack the Bulldog for the first time (which is a sign of good luck). For me, that era was the most impactful because I had just moved to a completely different continent with a new way of life.

People often gloss over how tricky that first transition to college life can be, but I’m a big advocate for celebrating the struggles that lead us to where we are now. I went through a lot of growth in that era and learned how to take care of myself. Through each step of that growth, Georgetown was there for me, whether that be through the professors and mentors who helped me believe that I deserved to be here or the resources on campus like the free yoga classes I would go to every week. Georgetown guided me and supported me through that transition period.

That era coincides with the “taking it all in” era. Throughout Sophomore year I took this approach with my Georgetown education of giving into academic curiosity. For all my classes, I would go to office hours and get to know all my professors. I would do the homework not to just complete it but I would also spend extra time to understand what really was going on and why it’s important. I really internalized what my dad told me back on that walk and made the most of my Georgetown education, realizing how lucky I am to be in this place with these professors and resources.

The next era was a fun one, it was my “finding my home” era. After my Sophomore year I spent the summer before my Junior year living on campus and working an internship. Despite moving in the day before my internship started and ending up having to sleep on my friend’s dorm room floor with none of my belongings, that was a summer of some of my favorite Georgetown memories. I lived just outside the front gates and worked an amazing internship which perfectly blended my interests of Business and Social impact, at a company founded by a Georgetown alum! I would spend the evenings sitting out on Healy Lawn reading a book and the weekends exploring all the secret spots on Georgetown’s campus with friends. By the time that summer ended, Georgetown felt more like home than Dubai or London was.

My Junior Year era was my “enjoying the payoff era.” I had spent all that time in Sophomore year learning and putting in the work and it paid of for me and I went into Junior year having all my future internships and jobs lined up. I really took that year to fulfill all my academic curiosities. I went to a bunch of different speaker events that I knew I’d only be able to go to during my time at Georgetown, on topics from the renewable energy transition to being a “conditional citizen” in America. I took advantage of the mentors I was given here, kept in touch with old professors, and seized every opportunity I was given. 

Junior year was also my “paying it forward era.” I felt as though Georgetown had given me so much and I was now in a position to give some back. I taught and mentored a new cohort of underclassmen each semester in a pre-professional club I’m a part of and brought in speakers from my internship and moderated a panel to share their experiences with the rest of our community. That’s when I knew that Georgetown was a special place because I wasn’t unique in that desire to pay it forward; there are so many Hoyas who just love Georgetown so much that they’re willing to mentor and give back to our community here.

And here I am in my final era, I like to call this one the “enjoying the now” era. I’m now a senior and I’ve done a lot and come out on the other side. I’m using this era to do all the things that I know that I won’t be able to do after college when I go out into the real adult world. Those are things like running my first ever marathon with my best friends, where I actually ran right down M street right here in Georgetown which was a surreal experience. Dancing in Rangila, our South Asian dance showcase which raised $70,000 for charity. And taking up a job at Hoya Kids, our on-campus daycare for the children of faculty members at Georgetown which is my favorite part of each day. 

All of this to say that I’ve taken the classes, passed the exams, been through the tough moments, enjoyed the high moments, cried to friends, screamed with joy to friends about good news, found my passions, felt like I was making a difference in the world, paid it forward, hit some big milestones, and am standing here sharing those because of my time at Georgetown.

So, thinking back to that walk all those years ago. I can go back and say that I really have made the most of my four years; I know that I’ll always look back at my time at Georgetown with fondness, knowing I had some of the best memories of my life here. I really hope that through my different eras you’ve seen just a small glimpse of what your Georgetown experience can look like. 

So maybe, when my family comes here in a couple of months for graduation, I’ll take my dad for a walk on 36th street, right by Wisey’s, and read him this speech knowing that I haven’t let the four years pass me by, but that I’ve given them my all. 

See you next week,

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