Are you interested in learning about America's top colleges from the perspective of current college students? We'll be visiting our LogicPrep alum, who are now current college students to get the inside scoop about what makes these universities great and what's completely different than expected. Follow along to learn more!
Gretchen and Murilo visited Georgetown University and met up with Meriam, a LogicPrep graduate, originally from Spain, who attended high school in Connecticut. She is currently in her Junior year at Georgetown and couldn't be happier. Read her full interview below!
How do you like Georgetown?
I LOVE IT. It did take a while to get accustomed to the work and get into a good, healthy routine. I was trying to juggle too many things at once in the beginning, and I had to learn how to develop time management skills. Coming from Europe, I had to learn how to accept help and use the professors as a resource, which is different culturally. It was hard to make that transition, but professors here seem to be more your friends and equals, rather than your superiors. I’ve even had professors invite me out to dinner to explain a concept to me, or be supportive on personal issues, which I never would have expected. I have also started to use the career services office here to help me transition to a job after college. I think my favorite thing about Georgetown is how supported I've felt in the whole experience.
How was your transition to Georgetown?
It wasn’t too bad! I used to go to a boarding school in Connecticut, so having gone to school in America helped me to transition easily. I did notice a lot of changes in the amount of work and the level of quality and understanding that professors expected from students, though. Here, it isn’t about memorizing; it’s about understanding what you’re actually talking about and applying concepts. That was definitely hard to get used to. At Georgetown, all the work is about understanding.
What is the international community like at Georgetown?
I actually only surround myself with international students. I feel like there is a huge divide between international students and American students. I think a lot of that is cultural – many international students try to recreate their culture in America, as opposed to Americans who seem to be living the “typical” college experience. That seems to be what creates the divide. I really only interact with Americans in my classes. I find myself wishing I got to know them more, but that’s just the way it is here. The international community does feel very big here, which is great, and we all know each other. We try to support each other in every way that we can.
How have you made friends at other schools in the DC area?
I’ve met them through the international network here at Georgetown, as many people are connected with people at other schools in D.C.; it’s almost a citywide network of international students. There are a ton of connections here, and I’ve got to meet so many new people here.
What are a few words to describe the campus at Georgetown?
WELCOMING, LIVELY, DYNAMIC, & CENTRALIZED.
What is your favorite study spot on campus?
There’s a specific cubicle on the 4th floor in the library that I love. For me, that's the best place to study and concentrate.
What is a typical Georgetown student like?
Someone that is very dynamic, has a lot of things that they want to achieve, is very fit and stays healthy, and is very cultured and well-rounded.
What is your living situation like?
Now I’m off-campus, and I was off-campus last year as well. I did two years in the dorms at boarding school, and I knew that I wanted to have my own room when I got to college. I didn’t want to live alone, but I definitely wanted to have my own space. Georgetown’s policy is that you need to live on-campus for 3 years, and then you can move off-campus.
What was the biggest surprise about college life?
The number of people I have met with so many different backgrounds is the biggest surprise. I traveled a lot when I was younger, but I have met so many more diverse people here than I ever did previously.
You mentioned about the push to finance/business here at Georgetown. Is there also a push towards government, as it's a DC school?
Sure, there are a lot of students involved in politics, but Georgetown only requires students to take one government class. With that said, I never followed politics much before, but I’ve found myself much more involved with them here just because everyone else is so involved in them. For business, Georgetown has a very good curriculum, especially with the core classes. Business students do change majors early on because the business school curriculum is rigorous and challenging. The business school also has a strange curve that hurts the students an ultimately makes students very competitive with each other. There isn’t a lot of collaboration in the business school because of the curve, which I don't really like. That mentality is not for me.
How did you choose to major in business yourself, and which specific concentration did you choose?
I wanted something that would challenge me, so I thought Finance would be perfect for me. I found that I couldn’t understand it as well as I wanted to, and I wasn’t really enjoying it, and I realized doing something I didn’t like wouldn’t help me in the long run. I’m still a big numbers person though, so I wanted to go with a more technical choice and ending up changing my concentration to Operations Management. This major incorporates a technology side into management and how to make a company successful, and I think that the skills I’m learning are going to be very useful for the jobs that I will be interested in, in the future. With that said, I think all of the business majors are great, but I didn’t find that they were right for me.
Was it hard to make the switch within the Business School?
I was very lucky because my old advisor is the Dean of the Business School. I was able to get into all the classes I needed, and she was very supportive of making the switch; she was actually the one who suggested I change majors! I went to see her at the start of this semester, and she was very kind and helpful. She knew my interests and what I like, which is why she suggested Operations Management. She put me in contact with everyone who helped me make the transition, and now I'm very happy. It feels great to focus on my classes and enjoy what I’m learning rather than investing so much time in something I don’t enjoy.
What classes are you taking right now?
I’m taking 6 classes, which is one more than the normal workload. I’m taking Operations Management, Databases, Strategic Management, Health in a Free Society, Logic, and Smart, Catholic, and Female.
Is Catholicism a big part of the campus life at Georgetown?
Most of the students are Catholic, and there are a lot of Jesuit values upheld by Georgetown. Most of the people in the international community are not religious, so it’s not really a prevalent thing in our lives. There are a lot of Catholic people in my Catholic class, but that's to be expected.
What advice would you give your past self about the application process at Georgetown?
You need to show how well-rounded you are because they aren’t looking for a specific thing-- they’re looking for a balance that doesn’t really have a formula to it. Showing how you’re different from everyone else is what helps you the most.
What advice would you give a high school Senior currently applying to schools?
Center your search and focus your effort on the schools that you actually like. College is what you make out of it, so don’t get disappointed if you don’t get in to your top school. My brother didn’t get into his top choice but was accepted to NYU and now he LOVES it. In a strange twist, he’s so glad he got rejected because he loves where he is now and is glad he gave another school a chance.
What are some fun facts about Georgetown?
When you go into the main building, there’s a crest on the floor. They say if you step on it, you won’t graduate in 4 years. You also need to sit at the statue in order to be successful in your 4 years here.
Do you have any plans for next year once you graduate?
Not yet, I’m looking at different options. I think the only reason I’d stay in the US is if I got a job in NY. Otherwise, I’d rather go back to Europe because I like the quality of life there, and I like being close to my family. I don’t think I’d want to go back to Spain, but I’m interested in London, Paris, Rome and Milan. I’m applying to tech companies, and there are many offices all over the world. More to come!
After their interview and speaking with some additional students, Gretchen had some additional thoughts about Georgetown-- see below!
Students seem like the wholesome, interested-in-many-things, active-in-community, on-top-of-their-stuff, friendly type. The experience as an International student is very different from being an American student... in a good way. American students seem to stay more on campus and prioritize more traditional "college life" (parties in dorms, etc.), while International students seem more connected with students from other schools in the area and with DC as a whole (Of course, this impression was based off of meeting just 2 people, but take it for what you will!).
For more student perspectives, click here!