Friday, June 14, 2019

shout-out to my alma mater

Good ol' Georgetown University, my old school, sits by the Potomac River, almost within sight of the Kennedy Center and still, after all this time, lacks its own subway stop. (You have to get off at Rosslyn Station, in Virginia, and walk 25 minutes across Key Bridge, over the Potomac, to reach the bottom of the hill on which my campus sits.)

For whatever reason, I suddenly felt a pang of nostalgia about the place, where the cheer was the weirdly Latin-Greek "Hoya Saxa!"—often translated as "What rocks!" (See more here.) Our school's Latin motto is Utraque unum, a biblical phrase in keeping with the school's Jesuit roots, which means, "Both into one," from Paul's idea (expressed in Ephesians) that Jews and Gentiles now together form a single body of Christ. The motto, when considered in the context of Georgetown's blue and gray colors, also expresses a post-Civil War sentiment: the divided halves of the United States have become one again.

Founded in 1789, the year the US Constitution was officially implemented (it was ratified in 1788)—not to mention the year of the bloody French Revolution—Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic institution of higher learning (notice how I didn't use the more succinct term "school"... because that's what happens when you're feeling pretentious) in the United States. Like most universities, GU has both an alma mater song and a fight song. I managed to dredge both of these songs up on YouTube. I share them with you now, to give you a small taste of our university's spirit (and here, by the way, are the lyrics):

The alma mater song:

A bunch of possibly-not-sober guys doing our fight song, which covers topics from gambling to football to basketball to not-so-hidden Ivy-League envy:

A better version of the fight song, karaoke-style:

Despite my nostalgia—which I don't feel that often—I'm strangely unsentimental about the place. I made some friends there, but I've been more in contact with old friends from elementary, junior high, and high school than I have with friends from college. I don't think I have any grad-school friends with whom I keep in contact, despite having had a good time studying with those nerds, many of whom were going for their doctorates while I cruised blithely along towards my MA in religious studies. One reason for the lack of sentimentality may be that Georgetown was hellaciously expensive, and it took me (and my parents) years to pay down that debt, despite the financial aid. I often feel that, despite being surrounded by smart and talented people during my four years of undergrad, my consciousness only really started to blossom after grad school. Yeah, call me a late bloomer. I'm slow that way.

But every once in a while, I do miss Georgetown. Thanks for listening to the music that is part of my personal history.

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