I woke up to the sound of my alarm, Julia's alarm, and the hotel phone ringing all at once. I showered quickly, and Julia and I met the group in the lobby. We picked up a quick breakfast, and soon we were taking the Circulator (bus) to the Smithsonian.
|The National Museum of American History; |
there is no better company in a history museum than a history teacher.
|A section of the lunch counter from the Greensboro|
sit-ins during the civil rights movement
|Oh my gosh it's Lincoln's suit|
With the busy schedule, we had less than an hour in the Smithsonian. We chose the National Museum of American History, and I got to see the flag that inspired the national anthem (yes, the same one that Francis Scott Key was looking at when he wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner"), Benjamin Franklin's walking stick, the slippers from The Wizard of Oz, and Lincoln's suit. It was crazy. Abraham Lincoln's suit was there. He wore that!
|This helicopter was shot down in Vietnam |
and was later repaired
We explored areas on African American history and military history, but we didn't get to spend much time examining details (as one might expect with the limited time we had). Still, it was a fun and educational experience.
Before we left, we stood between the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building in the National Mall, but soon enough, we found ourselves at Georgetown University for our information session and tour.
|The front lawn of Georgetown University|
|The information session took place in this beautiful old building,|
called White-Gravenor Hall
An admissions officer named Lauren greeted us and started to tell us about Georgetown University, from its 1789 founding to its low student-to-faculty ratio and to its four schools, going into detail in each. For example, she told us about Gus, a robot for medical students that would simulate a stroke in the morning, a heart attack before lunch, and would go into labor in the afternoon. She also brought up Georgetown's Center for Social Justice (which is pretty darn perfect for the three of us taking the Social Justice class at Penn), which supports research and work for the community.
|Healy Clock Tower|
The tour followed the information session, weaving though buildings (we're slowly getting used to the heat, but we still all sigh in relief when we're told that the next place we're going is air-conditioned) in the Georgetown campus, which is full of brick buildings. Our guide was a friendly Latin American Economics major from California named Taemin. On the tour, we were given information about Georgetown, things about the places on campus and the school itself. Taemin covered the basics, (like: Georgetown doesn't sponsor official Greek life, and you are required to live three years on campus) and also gave us some fun facts about the university (like: the Georgetown sports cheer is "hoya saxa" or "what rocks," and the hands of the clock on the Healy Clock Tower on campus have been blessed by a pope and signed by a president).
I thought it was interesting that Georgetown's theater program produced four or five shows that were run by students (student-run activities and organizations are not uncommon at Georgetown). One of the things that I thought was coolest was that a step leading into a building was never renovated because fourteen U.S. presidents had spoken there.
|Washington and Obama have spoken from the top step!|
We had about an hour to rest and shower before the dinner at a restaurant called 1789 (coincidentally the same year that Georgetown University was founded, if you didn't remember that from earlier in this blog). We were told to find a seat, and I took one between two rising seniors at Georgetown, Trevor and Omika. I only briefly got to talk to Trevor, but Omika and I talked for a large part of the meal. We ended up discussing theater and Speech and Debate, some of our common interests, and I discovered that there is a tragic absence of Speech or anything like it in college. We tried to figure out the difference between East Coast and West Coast Speech events, which was confusing and funny at the same time. We talked about choosing colleges and majors, and I listened to her explain some of the things that made Georgetown special. Omika was pleasant and easy to talk to, and I learned a lot from her.
We took some pictures, and then it was time to return to the hotel...and blog.
Today was our first college visit, and it went quite successfully. Based on the tour, the info session, and the dinner, Georgetown seems to have an extremely warm and accepting environment that is also very politically active, with frequent debates between friends over the latest issues. Georgetown seems like a great school, and it has a lovely campus, but I'm not sure it would suit me, and I don't yet know whether I'd like to apply there. Still, this was a great first on the trip, and it was a valuable experience for us all.