College Spotlight: George Washington University
Freshman Year Update
By Natalia Madrinan
College Expert Counselor: Ryan Luse
I am a freshman at George Washington University in DC. Obviously, there have been ups and downs and I will go over that and give you my honest opinion, but the long and the short of it is that I really love it here and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
Let’s start with the negatives for me personally. I live on the vern campus which is a freshman majority campus that is a 15-minute bus drive that sometimes can take closer to an hour depending on traffic. I have found it isolating and it caused some problems with me making friends in my first semester. However, I joined Model UN and met someone amazing during CI, which is the freshman registration event in the summer, which helped me overcome this. I would suggest at all cost try avoiding living on the vern, but it’s not a problem that is impossible to overcome. I suggest joining groups and talking to people in your class because everyone is eager to meet people and make friends. Another problem for me at GW is that the Colombian College of Liberal Arts academic advising program is pretty difficult to work with because of the pod system where they sort you by the last name. I overcame this with the mentors I got in the civic house program and Model UN, who answered all of my many questions. The final problem I have with GW is the civic house living-learning community, a program which in all likelihood wouldn’t affect you because it only selects 20 students. The issues I personally found with it were its ineffectiveness, the lackluster class that we were required to take, a general lack of transparency, and indifference towards the members.
After all these negatives I wouldn’t change my experience or college. The city of DC feels like where I belong. Every time I come back and I see the monument and federal buildings I just get overwhelmed with excitement. It’s a joy I’ve never felt from any place I have ever lived. The classes I have taken have been incredible and I have learned so much, especially in my interest area of politics. I have taken everything from “The Fairy Tale from the Grimms to Disney” to “Intro to American Politics”. The far majority of my teachers have been incredible and when they teach you can see their passion and commitment to our education. Even the teachers in huge lecture classes made me feel important and were very accessible during office hours. I currently have a teacher I see every week during office hours to talk about American politics and life. I have very close friends that I see being a part of my life for a very long time, and I am currently planning to room with a few of them next year. My mentors from the groups I have been involved with have been a lifesaver and shaped my college experience for the better. Model UN has been such a huge plus after some small hiccups. I have been able to go to Montreal and Virginia in my second semester alone because of it. These trips allowed me to learn so much and develop my skills as a delegate and public speaker. I also have been able to run for the Director of Community Outreach on the eboard (executive board) and combine my interest in community service and politics. I’m planning to have an internship next year on capital hill and hopefully will get college credit through GW. There is a lot of flexibility, but mentors and friends will help you find your way towards your goals with the strong sense of community that is formed. Overall GW allowed me to achieve all the things I set out to do in my freshman year and more.
If you’re considering going to GW I would recommend visiting because when I did, I knew I would end up here. If not, you can always contact me to discuss your questions. There will be positives and negatives at every college, so trust your gut and write down what you value most and see what meets the majority of your interest and needs.