Hey, class of 2012. If you’re hungry for any information you can get about Georgetown, this is your blog.
Vox Populi is the next evolutionary stage of Georgetown’s weekly paper, the Voice. We’ll be having a big freshman week of posts with more detailed advice (alcohol, sex) during orientation. Until then, though, this post should save you some time over the summer and some hassles during your first semester.
Ask any other questions you have in the comments and we’ll help you out. Also, keep checking the blog this summer for more posts about Georgetown and DC.
Q: Do I have to read Before the Frost and write the response paper?
A: No. If that’s your thing, go for it, but nothing bad will happen to you if you don’t. My orientation adviser said that people who don’t do the papers get bad housing lottery numbers for sophomore housing, but the idea that Housing could coordinate that with New Student Orientation is prima facie ridiculous.
This brings up a useful thing to know about NSO and Georgetown life in general: unless alcohol, drugs, criminal activity, or something truly outrageous is involved, Georgetown doesn’t have many ways to punish you for not doing what it wants. This means that you can skip book stuff, convocation, or any other NSO event with impunity.
After the jump, 10 more, plus a bonus.
Q: Is living in Darnall as terrible as I hear?
A: Oh yeah. I lived there my freshman year and it was miserable. It’s far from anything useful (besides the Leavey Center), and the amenities are either crumbling to dust or crashing to the floor. Some people will tell you it’s worth it because everyone in Darnall bonds over their shared misery, but that doesn’t mean anything. After all, I bet Ingrid Betancourt and those three Americans are real tight now.
Q: What laptop should I use?
A: Whatever. Macs do seem to have more luck catching Georgetown’s spotty wi-fi, while PCs have better luck with CDs from textbooks. Make sure to get a laptop, though. With a desktop, you’ll always be asking people if you can borrow their computers, and no one likes a mooch (except these animals).
Q: Should I buy dorm stuff at home and ship it, or buy in Washington?
A: Buy in Washington. Unless you have some deal where your uncle calls you when hampers and shower caddies “fall off the truck”, you can get everything you need
Q: How many meals should I get on my meal plan?
A: Depends on if you like breakfast. Let’s do some math–seven days in a week, if you don’t like breakfast (and even if you do you probably won’t make more than one or two a week), that means you’re eating 14 meals. Subtract two to four for meals you’ll eat outside the cafeteria gives you 10-12. It’s all very complicated, but what I’m saying is get 10 if you’re going to be eating out a lot, and 14 otherwise.
Definitely don’t get unlimited–no one uses it, and you’ll feel like a fatty.
Q: How much faith should I put in Rate My Professors?
A: Not much, but who can you trust, anyway? How many people did you rate on Rate My Teachers in high school? If you did at all, you probably only did it for teachers you felt strongly about. A similar dynamic is at work on Rate My Professors, where most reviews are either ecstatic or raging. This means they won’t help you avoid crazy professors, but do tip you off to professors who assign a lot of work (look for things like “expects a lot of students” in positive reviews).
Q: What stores and restaurants won’t card me for alcohol?
A: I can’t believe you’d ask that. Wait for New Student Orientation week, then check back here.
Q: Should I buy a refrigerator or rent one?
A: Buy. I forget what the crew team charges, but it’s something like $50 a year or a semester. Either way, you can buy a slightly more expensive refrigerator at a big-box store and keep it all four years.
Q: Should I take my GOCard picture at home or at school?
A: Home. If you wait until move-in day, you’re going to be sweaty, annoyed, and wearing an unappealing NSO shirt. The lines are always long, too. You want to have this card all four years at Georgetown (the replacement cost is outrageous), so take your time and take it at home.
Q: Should I use CHARMS to find a roommate?
A: Sure. I met my roommate on CHARMS, and he’s a pretty cool guy. Whether you use CHARMS, Facebook, or random assignment, though, it’s a crap shoot. That’s too bad because there are few things sadder–or more awkward for other people–than roommates who don’t talk to each other because they aren’t friends.
Q: How much should I believe someone’s CHARMS response sheet?
A: Not at all. My roommate’s a nice guy, but even though he checked “listens to music at a moderate volume”, he has no music and I’m condemned to headphone hell. That’s not too bad, but depending on the question your roommate lied about, things might not work out so well.
If your roommate said they’re willing to share big items like printers, refrigerators, and computers, and you think that actually includes computers, I have bad news for you.
Q: Where else can I get new student information?
The Independent has a freshmen glossary and guide. Check it out, even though it treats you like idiots. The Hoya hasn’t been publishing this summer, but you could probably dig around in their archives. Georgetown’s campus humor magazine, The Heckler, had a quality new student guide last year.
That makes twelve, but here’s a bonus question for SFS students:
Q: Should I study hard this summer to pass the Map of the Modern World exam?
A: Nah. The actual Map class is only one hour a week, with only the final for work, so you might as well take it. It’s a challenge first first semester if you take it seriously, so enjoy your summer instead. If you pass it, though, practice on Geosense. You can also get notes on all the continents (minus Oceania) from this Yahoo Group.