“I may not have gone where I intended to go,
but I think I have ended up where I needed to be” – Douglas Adams
Last Wednesday night I intended to get my hair cut at Bang Salon in the Verizon Center and then go to a Washington Capitals bar to watch the game. As you can probably guess, this did not happen. I got the fastest hair cut known to man (or more likely known to women) but because of this, I had hours before the Caps game started so I decided to go home first. No one was available to meet me at Sign of the Whale when the game started so when I heard the door slam to my house (as if someone was leaving) I poked my head out the second floor window and asked Meghan if she was going to her group meeting. Turns out that was just where she was going and out of boredom (and of course some interest in the project she had spent the semester bitching about / loving on) I decided to attend the meeting with her.
This was the final meeting before her class of 15 students traveled to NYC the following morning to compete in an advertising competition. For the last few months they worked on developing a new advertising and marketing strategy to attract more 25-34 year old women (which the group nicknamed “Soulful Strivers”) into JCPenny stores. Meghan was one of three team leaders and was also one of five people chosen in the group to be a presenter. I intended to listen to them rehearse once or twice and leave but as you can probably guess, that did not happen. I ended up listening and asking questions to help them prepare for the next 3.5 hours.
Why? Well I’ll tell ya why….they are Georgetown. As I sat there and watched, listened, and even participated in the bouncing of ideas back and forth, I realized that this is what I have craved from my Georgetown career. In high school when I imagined what it would be like to go to Georgetown, this is what I intended to experience: insanely smart and clever men and women bouncing ideas off each other, participating in classes, discussions, and projects that actually mean something to me, and feeling a sense of fulfillment and even joy out of school work…..as you can probably guess, this did not happen. However, for those 3.5 hours that I sat in their group meeting, my image of Georgetown came to life. Other than Meghan, I didn’t know these people but after the short time I spent with them, I was overwhelmed with pride in my school and in the work they had done. I was inspired. I was in awe of my peers. I was also exhausted but I didn’t even care because I actually had fun in an academic environment (I can count those times on one hand).
On a selfish note, I was proud of myself as well. As I have mentioned in other posts, I often feel like the underdog at Georgetown. I am frequently unaware of my intelligence level, especially when I am in contact with business school students. I started Georgetown in the business school and transferred out when I realized I kind of hated it and frankly, didn’t want to have tutors for four years. In helping them to prepare for Q&A, I found myself very comfortable speaking up to kids who had previously extremely intimidated me. Sassarella intimidated? YEAH RIGHT. Really though, smart people sometimes scare the crap out of me and I know it sounds ridiculous but like I said, I often forget that I’m one of them. Anyway, I intended on being the cool kid outsider just listening in but as you can guess, this did not happen. I ended up staying all night and saying things like, “I’m so impressed by your work. Know that the time and energy you’ve put into this project is worth something. Believe in what you’re selling to the judges and you can’t go wrong.”
Thanks to Trey, Sign of the Whale, shots of Jager, and biggie-sized vodka sodas with Meghan my dorkiness escalated. The emotions from the night, my personal discoveries, and my overwhelming pride in my new friends (and of course, Meghan) caused a late-night CVS run to make goodie bags. The Easter candy was half off so I bought a random assortment, three little blue bags for the boys, and two little pink bags for the girls and dumped all of the candy into them. I also attached a nice Dr. Phil-esque, hand-written, inspirational note to send with Meghan on the bus for the five presenters.
So waking up Thursday morning, as you can imagine, in my sobriety I was a bit embarrassed. However, this is how you know something is right – they loved it (thank God). They could have been freaked out that the new girl got overly involved or even thought I was a loser, but they didn’t. I intended on continuing the weekend in DC by going through the usual motions but as you can probably guess…that did not happen. I made it my mission for the next few hours to get to NYC to see the presentation (and then of course go out afterwards to celebrate).
One thing lead to another and next thing I know I’m on a Bolt Bus traveling up the east coast. I stayed home in NJ Thursday night and got up Friday morning to head over to the auditorium. While in the Lincoln Tunnel with my mom, I suddenly feared how awkward and ridiculous this could be. It’s one thing to be drunk and make goodie bags but now she’s changing her life around in a moment’s notice to come watch. Well thankfully these fears were put to rest when I heard, “She’s here!” from one of the presenters. Meghan also told me that Mama Fish was happy to have someone there on Team Meghan for support. Ok, I can breathe again. I arrived pretty early and while sitting ambiguously in the lobby, I overheard someone from another school say, “Shit, Georgetown’s here!” and another say, “I think Georgetown is next, I really want to see that one” and even the emcee for the day commented, “I bet Georgetown is the one to beat.” … effing right we are (yes, “we” because I made myself an unofficial group member).
I felt like a proud lil mama and they looked amazing – so sophisticated, so professional, and I’m pretty sure “beautiful” was used to describe the overall look of their presentation. They eloquently and wholeheartedly presented the 20 minute script and gracefully handled the judges Q&A. I say gracefully because if I were them I would’ve gracefully punched that little JCPenny woman in the coo cah for saying, “For the future, we refer to employees as associates, not employees. Your ‘Employee Empowerment’ program title would have to be changed” blah blah blah biotch (but they kept their cool).
So anyway, we all intended on winning but as you can probably guess, the judges are stupid and this did not happen. Although they still kicked ass and got 3rd place! Later in the evening I met my sister, Beth, at Three Monkeys. At both happy hour with her co-workers and later at Gossip talking to a nice man named Edward who bought us drinks, I was word vomit on the group of kids, their project, my contribution to all of it, and the randomness of the judges’ decision, “I think it’s saying something when the judges are asked to say what it was about the winning team that really impressed them and really earned them the top spot, that they blatantly couldn’t give a specific, clear answer,” I vented on and on to poor Edward.
So I intended on continuing my New York City night after leaving my sister and meeting up with my Georgetown friends and whether you can guess it or not, that’s just what I did. The absurdity of the events that occurred between 1am and 5am can be summed up in a few quotes: “Studio 54 closed 30 years ago, honey,” “FREE SAMPLES,” “I blame the Hound Dog”, and in the words of Britney Spears, “Ohh ohh oh oh oh ohhhh!” In an attempt to find a bar to go to, one of the three group leaders instructed us all to get in a cab and follow each other because a “fun bar in NYC” awaits us. We got out of the cabs and learned that she thought we would go to Studio 54 until a perplexed man on the side of the road informed her that it had closed 30 years ago. Then sometime after I bought rounds of shots and drinks at Black Finn, we ended up at Three Monkeys. Here is where I got the nice little bruise on my shin from climbing on bar stools, texting songs to the DJ, dancing with our dancing queens of the
evening morning, and wondering where the square-framed glasses went.
And what would a night in NYC be without $0.75 Famous Rays Pizza? It would be incomplete, that’s what it would be. After many dollars worth of pizza, a half hour duet with a homeless man, and a few even took a trip to Times Square, we ended up at the 24-hour Duane Reade next to our hotel. The previously mention fearless leader grabbed a dress full of “free samples” that turned out to not be quite so free, “The boxes were on a table and looked like free samples but I definitely opened the packages and just started grabbing stuff.” “Want a cookie? Blueberry covered pretzel anyone? Please eat this stuff, guys!” Somehow we all safely made it back to the hotel rooms and continued to unnecessarily take shots of Hound Dog Sweet Tea flavored Vodka. The next morning we shockingly made it to our bus and still intoxicated, tried to convince our bus driver to take us to Disney instead of DC while serenading everyone on the street with our version of Britney Spears’ “Til the World Ends.”
That Saturday night I, Christie aka Sassarella, actually started and finished my night at The Tombs with some kids from the NYC trip, and thoroughly enjoyed it. No disrespect for my Rhino/DC bar lovies but as the four years is wrapping up, The Tombs was just where I needed to be. Will I be able to do it every night? No, of course not, but if there was ever a time to enjoy being in a bar completely surrounded by my fellow Hoyas it is now, just as I’m about to leave them.
Most of you reading this will not be nearly as entertained by the intricate details of the night out in New York or at The Tombs as I am but here comes the point of it all: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” I never intended to do any of what I did in the last few days but it turns out it was exactly what I needed. I needed the night in the business school classroom critiquing their project because it gave me confidence in my intelligence and fulfilled the missing piece of my time at Georgetown. I needed to go to NYC and watch the presentation because it proved how much I love my school, how much I love my own spontaneity, but most importantly because of how much I love feeling part of something bigger than myself. I needed to meet this group of people because I was so struck by how comfortable I felt with them. I would never have had a chance to get to know any of them if it weren’t for that night. I needed the random time in New York City because it confirmed for me that I was crazy to think that I would not want to live there as a twenty-something. So to change my mind for umpteenth time, I can’t actually move to California but I can visit. I needed the laughs and I feel very grateful to have experienced something so Georgetown-y, so fun, so life-changing, and so utterly unintended.