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Alum Update

Reflecting on Four Years in the UHP

Was it Carly in the Club Room with the bust of Sophocles?

Was it Carly in the Club Room with the bust of Sophocles?

This post was written by Carly Nuttall, graduating UHP/ESIA student.

When I was first applying to colleges, I knew exactly the type of school I wanted to attend. I had gone to a small high school in a sleepy New England town, and I was looking for more of the same in college. At the time, GW represented everything I didn’t want—it was big, it was in a city, and it appeared to be filled with students who took themselves a little too seriously. But as an aspiring International Affairs major, GW was a requisite school to look at, though it was admittedly far down on my list. However, as my high school graduation drew closer, heading up to Maine to study International Affairs as opposed to D.C. seemed like a less and less practical idea. Accordingly, I matriculated at GW, but going into my freshman year, I still had the same concerns. I worried that the city would be overwhelming, that the school itself was too big and I would just be viewed as another faceless ID number, that I wouldn’t have anything in common with the other students. I think these are fears that many of us felt heading into our college experience. But we also share another experience—being in the University Honors Program.

All of the fears about college that I had been harboring were swept away as soon as I had my first experiences with the Honors Program and with other Honors students. GW may still have seemed big, scary, and impossible to navigate, but I always felt at home in the Honors Program. I knew that I could email Catherine and Jordana (and later, Liz) if I had any frantic and overly detailed questions about my four-year plan (as I often did), that Jared would always say hello and ask me how I was doing when I entered the townhouse, that the hot chocolate machine would provide me with a little warmth as I made the long trek from Lafayette down to Elliott (provided, of course, that I had my own reusable mug with me). I knew that the other Honors students living in my dorm would be willing to talk out the finer points of the Origins and Evolutions of Modern Thought paper that I was struggling to articulate, that they would understand why the philosopher soccer YouTube clip was so hilarious (seriously, if you haven’t seen it you need to look it up), and would challenge my perspectives and preconceived notions about classwork and life.

So, why the trip down memory lane? What’s the point of all of this? The point is that the University Honors Program has given me, and all of us, so much. As seniors, it’s time for us to give back to the Program that has helped to shape who we are in so many ways. The Honors Program has never asked me for anything, but it’s given me a great education, lifelong friends, a lifetime of memories, and a place to call home.
I know that as we embark on the next stage of our lives with all that entails—graduate school or job applications, frantically searching for an apartment, struggling to put the finishing touches on our theses—donating money is the last thing on our minds. But I know that when I look back on my college experience, some of my favorite memories take place in Lafayette, or in Professor Winstead’s Nietzsche class, or on the townhouse couch. The UHP is more than just something to put on your resume; it’s a family. For all of these experiences and for the connections I’ll have to UHP long after I leave Foggy Bottom, I gave back to the program with my senior class gift. Join me and make your gift to UHP (indicate “University Honors Program” in the “other” designation) so that the honors students following in our footsteps can have the same opportunities, if not better.
This also happens at commencement, or at least we've heard.

This also happens at commencement, or at least we’ve heard.

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