The Bucket List
Here’s a mix of things to do on the Hilltop and in the District so you can make the most of your four years at Georgetown. Time flies, and though after commencement a large percentage of graduates stay local (at least for a short while), there’s a good chance you may not. If you only spend two days a semester you will have been able to complete them all before graduation. You’ll be glad you did.
Take at least one class by a Jesuit, preferably in the theology department.
Participate in the dinner with a Jesuit series. If you can’t score an invite, find a Jesuit and invite him to dinner with a group of friends. Ask questions and be ready to contribute to an evening of interesting conversation.
Spend a Halloween watching The Exorcist in Gaston Hall. It was written by TGA supporter and friend William Peter Blatty after a real-life case he encountered while a student at Georgetown. Then visit the Jesuit cemetery at midnight and participate in the Healy Howl.
Read a book about D.C., either a history of the city, or one about all the tourist opportunities available. It’ll be great for impressing those who come to visit you in addition to those already here. And consider spending one of your summers as tour guide. The job is not that difficult to get and in addition to making some money you’ll improve your speaking and presentation skills as well as strengthen your knowledge of both the city and American history.
Spend another summer in D.C. working a job or internship so you can experience without the stress of classes what it’s like to labor in full-time professional setting. Bonus points if it’s a position one isn’t likely to find elsewhere or outside a major city, like the White House, Capitol Hill, or think tank. Our Opportunities page has a few suggestions.
Visit the office hours of each of your professors, at least once each semester. The professors’ time has been bought and paid for by you already. Make use of them. You’ll be surprised by what you’ll learn and where the discussions go.
Find a professor to serve as a mentor. It begins with regularly going to their office hours. You don’t need to necessarily talk about class or what you’re studying. A conversation about anything is enough to get started. If you need an ideas, start by asking what their impressions are of Georgetown and the average student.
If you’re a freshman, make the effort to become good friends with a senior. If you’re a senior, make the effort to become good friends with a freshman. The best way to meet is through a student club you regularly participate in.
Take a look around Riggs library.
Attend a Philodemic Society debate. Speak. If you don’t on your first visit, keep going until you do. After each debate, visit Martin’s Tavern for some friendly conversation and drinks. One of the original purposes of a collegiate education was to develop the rhetorical skills of students. The best place for that occurs Thursday nights in Healy.
Go to a basketball game. You don’t even have to like the sport. The point is to partake in the shared experience and say you did at least once.
Attend the Cherry Tree Massacre.
No matter your religion, check out a Midnight Mass in Dahlgren, a Shabbat at the Jewish House, and an Islamic prayer meeting. Visit too any of the services of the other religions on-campus. It’ll seem a little weird going to these places when you’re older if you're not a member of the relevant faith, but you’re a student now so have a free pass.
See a Georgetown Improv event and watch your fellow students perform. You’ll be surprised how funny some of them can be.
Go to as many Mask & Bauble plays as you can. They’re rarely sold out, tickets are cheap, and as with the Improv, you might even see an early performance of someone who will be a famous TV or movie star one day.
Speaking of plays, be sure to take in a performance at the Kennedy Center. And don’t neglect the local music or theatrical venues. Most have special student prices.
Rent a kayak or canoe and get out on the Potomac (or what the Indians called Cohongarooton, meaning "honking geese"). Know how to swim first. And if you don’t know how to swim, then learn. There are student classes at Yates. Need we remind you this is a four year period where you can easily learn things that will be much more difficult to learn when you’re older, and have much more pressing and important responsibilities?
Go to a protest at the National Mall. Multiple times during your four years at Georgetown some big ones will occur. The point is to see politics in action.
Attend one of the off-campus religious retreats offered by campus ministry.
Explore Greek life on campus and consider joining one of the many fraternities or sororities that exist, but are unaffiliated with, Georgetown.
Volunteer, at least once, in poverty-stricken area or prison. Bonus points if you take a spring break trip to build a house in Appalachia. You’ll helping someone who needs it, but hopefully will learn something important about yourself and how lucky you are in life. Despite all the moaning by some students about how blighted their own lives are with so-called microaggressions and not being as rich as someone else, the truth is every Hoya is extremely privileged to be where they’re at, and are exceptionally fortunate to have been born in or able to journey to the United States. The sad thing too many don’t realize it and stay unhappy in life due to their lack of perspective, choosing to remain spoiled, entitled and angry that the world isn't exactly how they wish it to be.
Pick a subject and become an expert in it.
Read a GU history book. There are several to choose from. We recommend Curran’s history, which is the definitive text, but Swift Potomac’s Lovely Daughter, a compilation of student essays written in the late 1980s, is a favorite too.
Eat at least once at these four restaurants: Wisey’s (get the Chicken Madness), Ben’s Chili Bowl (order the half-smoked), Old Europe up on Wisconsin (visit the beer hall in the basement), and the cafeteria at the Museum of the American Indian (where you’ll be able to find a Buffalo Burger and Prickly Pear Ice Cream).
Visit the following museums (they’re all free): Smithsonian, Native American, National Portrait Gallery, the National Archives (see the original Declaration of Independence and Constitution), and the Holocaust Museum.
Take the following tours (also free): White House, Capitol Hill, and Supreme Court (sit in on a case), and the FBI Building. Don't forget to go on a generic city tour of D.C. as soon as you can after arriving on the Hilltop. It'll cost a few bucks but is worth it. We recommend doing so with the D.C. Ducks which has a special deal for local residents.
Visit the following monuments (free again): The Jefferson Memorial late at night, the Lincoln Memorial at dawn, the Washington Memorial (bonus points if you take the elevator to the top), the Vietnam Memorial on a rainy day, and the Martin Luther King Memorial in the noon day sun. There are more, but these are essential.
Bring a date to one of the dances put on by the Georgetown Ballroom Dance Team. They hold a quick class at the beginning so you can learn how to swing or salsa.
Study abroad for either a semester, a year, or a summer. It may be a financial strain, but doing so may be of great benefit, especially if you solidify your understanding of another language and don’t get the chance to live overseas later on in life. If you can only do one semester, go for the Spring. That way you have the option of extending your time into the summer and traveling or maybe even getting a student work permit.