People like to ask me a lot about what I think of GW and I tend to reply with a salty sweet answer. I say that it’s a pretty good school. That I’ve met a lot of great people. That it’s in a great location. Blah blah blah. But that’s really not how I feel about it…
I’ve gone back and forth about writing this post for a year or something crazy like that. I’ll start, stop, get really fired up one day, and then scrap the whole thing and forget about. But with the semester coming to a close and having the opportunity to be a part of an incredible class, I finally felt I had my thoughts organized to where I could say what I wanted.
In all honesty, I’ve always been more anti than pro-GW. It’s just a fact that I’m no longer going to beat around the bush about. Simply put, I don’t think it’s worth the first-class price tag. I’m not going to list out all my reasons that have resulted in this sour taste like some butthurt middle schooler, but there are three things that are straight-up fact that have resulted in this perception and shouldn’t be ignored:
- The Dean of GWSB “resigned” (read fired) a day before Fall 2013 classes started after spending $13 million over budget. Still not sure how the hell one does that…but hey it happened.
- It was discovered that the university was not need blind – something it had always told prospective students. In fact, GW went so far that it prioritized students who could meet the financial burden of the school over students who couldn’t. In layman’s terms? GW was putting applications who weren’t from endowed backgrounds on a waitlist. #Rai$eHigh
- The university was lying about their student body ranking for a decade that got them kicked off the US News & World Reports and ultimately unranked. Their reasoning? Faulty “estimates” with the calculations.
For a student who pays full tuition – even for the lucky ones that pay half – that’s some pretty serious problems to just sweep under the rug and forget about.
For a long time – and I hope to God my parents aren’t reading this post – I thought college just wasn’t for me. I knew it was important and that it was insurance for my future (as sad as that is to say), but I kind of just went through the movements without much care. I signed up for classes at GW that I was told to, did pretty well in the them, and picked a major – Finance – that was safe and had secure job prospects.
But – after I did some serious thinking during my gap semester – I decided to attach on marketing and pursue a double major. For the first time, I was finally sitting in classes during fall 2014 that were actually interesting that lead me to find out about this six-credit class called “Advanced Advertising.” I had heard it was pretty brutal from upperclassmen and alumni who had taken it, but it got me interested.
The application process in it of itself was brutal. You had to interview with the class TA, make a slide deck about yourself and present to the professor, and basically gloat about your accomplishments and what you were capable of doing in order to obtain one of seventeen or so spots in this coveted class. And so I did it, and – for whatever reason – got in.
To say the result of being in this class was amazing would be the biggest understatement of the year. I learned more about myself, others, and the world in general than any and all of the classes I’ve ever taken combined. I fell in love with DC, doubled the size of my friend group, and walked away with the realization that coming to GW wasn’t exactly a “bad” decision.
But let’s not get things twisted…this experience isn’t exactly the university’s doing. It’s because of an incredible professor. A TA who probably is going to rule the world at some point. And 17 individuals who came from all kinds of different backgrounds, majors, and interests with one common goal in mind.
While many of them don’t know it, this group of people were all teachers to me in their own ways. I always thought that I had certain limits and never knew until this class how far I could push myself. How many nights I could go with a couple hours of sleep. Or the fact that working in a group wasn’t the most miserable thing in the world. I learned that opening my eyes, letting go of control, and doing something that made me uneasy was a pretty gratifying experience.
But let’s be real, it would be hypocritical to say that this class was not the most miserable, taxing, and exhausting class I’ve ever been in. The number of times I wanted to cry, punch a wall, or simply give up couldn’t be counted on my fingers. Did it suck to put friends, PKP, my family, or anything that involved fun on the back burner? You bet it did.
While we had to go through some really difficult times to get to the good, we made it – together – as a team making every minute of ever day in Advanced Advertising 100% worth it. Why? Because it allowed me to walk away with a clearer idea of what I wanted to do with the things that I was good at.
As I wrap this post up (I know it’s another long-winded one), I really have two points in sharing all of this. One, is to finally answer that question about what I think about GW. My answer? It’s deserves more credit than I give it. I’m still not a big fan, but the school does have a lot going for it: a great location, professors from interesting backgrounds, and the ability to experience college in a pretty unorthodox way. While it has a ways to come before its price tag is justified (at least in my opinion), I feel far more confident in my choice in coming here. I’ll always have reservations about the school, but want to remind those – especially who are looking at colleges – to take my words and experiences with a grain (or two) of salt.
For me, this whole experience reminded me of something my dad said awhile back, “College is all what you make of it.” And – as painful as it is to admit when my parents are right – he has a good point. Whether we go to a first class school or a big state school, the name that’s on our diploma doesn’t necessarily equate to the amount we “learned.” In fact, it’s really up to us to take advantage of those opportunities that come our way instead of playing the “what if” game – a game I’ve become quite the pro at.
The second thing that’s worth mentioning is that sometimes we go through really miserable experiences in life, but it’s because something great is down the road. For me, that great thing at the end of the road was Advanced Advertising. While I’m already having withdrawals from the class (and have no idea what I’m going to do with all this spare time), it nice to finally be happy – content with where I am, my choice in coming to GW, and the realization that my college experience isn’t contingent upon a name or a location. It’s contingent upon my ability – and want – to DO and ACT.
All in all, I think it’s safe to say that this has been one of my best years. I feel I’m in a good spot, am excited to call myself a Washingtonian this summer, and am more motivated than ever to pick up PKP and take it in a new and fresh direction.
My parting words to conclude this muse? Make the best of your college experience – or any situation in general – and accept the challenge of going through something really difficult. It’s not fun, but times of difficultly make us do some major soul searching and you’d be surprised at what you find.
I’ll always throw shade at the school, but I do have a sense of pride in calling myself a Colonial. #RaiseHigh
This post is dedicated to my incredible Advanced Advertising Team: Professor Maddox, Jackie, Ally, Avra, Bryan, Cassidy, Erica, Grace, Justin W, Justin P, Kareem, Kelly, Keri, Meg, Najla, Natalie, Noelle, & Paul. #RushCapAd