Friday, June 26, 2015

Tour Guides of Tomorrow

Andrew explaining Robert E.Lee's surrender
As much as I love my own bed, I love hotel beds. The only problem with hotel beds is that they're extremely difficult to get out of in the morning. (The same goes for hot showers.)

During our breakfast, we all discovered an unfamiliar morning silence at the table brought on by hunger and fatigue that had carried over from the previous night. Quickly afterwards, however, we seemed to have rebooted our spirits and left for the National Mall to check out the National Museum of American History, one part of many to the famed Smithsonian.

With only a limited amount of time, we took an hour-long "Highlights Tour" led by our knowledgeable guide Andrew. Unfortunately, since the "Highlights Tour" really did only cover the highlights, I once again was the kid who got separated from the group after looking too long in each exhibit and stumbled around looking for a familiar face from my cohort. 

Each exhibit was phenomenal in its own way, although I especially enjoyed looking at the one that showcased a wide variety of historical memorabilia ranging from Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves to one of the original vials of Jonas Salk's polio vaccine. In seeing each object, despite being housed in respective glass cases, I felt like the impact and value was so much greater knowing that they were original objects that were legitimately well-used instead of just reconstructed models and representations. Also, knowing that some of these items were very commonplace during their specific time periods was very helpful in understanding their bigger impact on society in the past. Similarly, I found Abraham Lincoln's hat to be such a magnificent and priceless piece to carry at the museum. Small things like the wonder and awe and imagination that came with the thought that "Wow, Abraham Lincoln actually wore this hat around 150 years ago" made the museum, as a whole, just that much more special for me on a personal level.

We all took a much-needed break from walking and ate lunch at a cozy table directly outside "Martin's Tavern" before taking another pleasant walk in the humid Washington air to the surprisingly close by Georgetown University. Even from afar, I could tell that the campus was stunning. And as we neared closer and closer until each stone and spire was visible in a good amount of detail, the beauty increased exponentially.

In an attempt to be punctual we arrived at what was assumed to be our designated tour meet up stop only to be told that we needed to be in another building. Ten minutes later, after getting slightly lost, we gathered in the Reiss building to begin our information session and tour. The former was exactly how I expected it to be - informative. Although I can't vouch for a huge amount of excitement in the presentation, I appreciated the effort to put in as much information as was physically possible for the session. The tour that followed was led by Matt, a rising junior at Georgetown University (GU) with a knack for walking backwards. He emphasized the amazing opportunities that Georgetown University had to offer like amazing guest speakers, internships, and diverse clubs. Throughout the whole information session and tour, I got the sense that although Georgetown University has strong Catholic and Jesuit influences, it offers a lot of flexibility to students in both religious and academic life. Overall, I was impressed by how passionate the students that thrived at GU were and the successful atmosphere that the staff and students had managed to create.

The dinner with the alumni/current students was incredible. In particular, I had the pleasure of meeting Sean Redmond ('97), Chris Fisk ('17), and Josi Sinagoga ('16). Their wisdom and ability to express and address big ideas and concepts related to Georgetown University as well as just regular ol' college life never ceased to amaze me. And although many of the concepts they brought up were nothing new, the way in which they were presented was refreshing and insightful. I sat near Ms. Sinagoga, International Politics major (with a focus on foreign relations), who expressed her interest in getting involved with the military in the future and her dream to create policies dealing with foreign countries. Both Mr. Fisk and Ms. Sinagoga explained their involvement in the Georgetown Scholarship Program, a program designed to help support and build a community for scholarship-awarded students to encourage future success. Throughout the entire meal, it wasn't difficult to see that they were all in love with Georgetown University and deeply passionate about their individual areas of study. Although there was quite a bit of advocating for Georgetown University, it never felt as though they were pushing their opinions on us and they were very kind about answering our questions and explaining their own experiences in the process. 

Once dinner was finished, Sean Redmond, who was also president of the City Tavern Club, gave us an exclusive tour of the building we had just enjoyed our delicious dinner in, explaining its important historical context and sharing fascinating little tidbits of its creation. I quite liked the story behind an unassuming wall map illustrating the plan for the creation of Washington and the background involving Pierre L'Enfant and Andrew Ellicott. I'm not sure if Mr. Redmond understands how truly thankful we all were for the tour.
(from left to right) Joyce Thrift, me, Izabel Rodriguez, Chris Fisk, Josi Sinagoga, Sean Redmond, Alyanna Paulino, Mark Bordas, and Saba Haile
Although I've had the most tours in one day than I've ever had, I'm extremely glad that there are people like the ones pictured above that are willing to help guide others through unknown territory (or nudge in the right direction), whether it be historical museum exhibits or the uncharted waters of the future. (Bear with me on the cheesiness of this last paragraph and the title). Someday I hope to find myself in their same position,  as some sort of a "tour guide," inspiring others and piquing hidden interests everywhere. 

1 comment:

  1. Without fail our ILCers are so amazed when they meet Sean and the wonderful people he brings to these dinners. Every one of our ILCers walks away full to the brim with an enthusiasm about GTown.