Photo courtesy of GW.
Maybe it's Kerry Washington. Maybe it's Brian Williams. Or even Colin Powell.
But all I know is that George Washington University is the best university in the country.
It's that time of year where millions of high school-aged students are agonizing over what schools they'll be accepted into. I can recollect wanting so badly to attend a university in California like the characters on my favorite television show at the time, but I soon realized that life isn't that scripted. My parents just weren't going for that distance away from Ohio. But, with that said, to me, my school is the best in the country, and I know yours can be too.
Albeit in a bit more of a conversationalist tone than my previous writing, here are the facts. Besides living three blocks from the White House, and only five from the Lincoln Memorial -- trust me, the spur of the moment jogs are simply spellbinding for your eyes -- these dormitories couldn't be more fantastic.
Growing up partly in a small-town in Northern Ohio, my grandmother always had a home-living-lifestyle magazine of sorts on the coffee table whenever I came to visit, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I moved into my Potomac Hall suite freshman year to only find it looking quite similar to the spreads in my grandmother's magazines. Although more confined and longer wait times for the elevators than anyone would expect, the luxury of the ten-floor high rise had an astounding view of the Washington Monument. That inspiring sight came in handy on those Monday mornings when class couldn't inspire me to leave my bed enough (to my parents, this happened rarely). But what an incredible first-year living experience that was, I reflect!
You see, to come from the familiarity of Ohio to a big city like Washington, D.C., it was my wildest dreams coming true. And unfortunately, in high school, I had the kind of counselor who wanted me to remain "realistic" by settling for the state school as my first choice. Obviously, that never happened.
I eventually received the letter that had me running into his office with the boastful greeting along the lines of "I told you so." I came to understand this defiance all too well.
Now, onto the city itself: Washington, D.C.. As a sophomore, I live in the dormitory that is closest to the most historical destinations in the city. This is somewhat untruthful because even on the complete opposite side of campus, the subway system is a mere couple of footsteps from the other dormitories.
So, closeness to the historic sites are relative.
I do often run daily at dusk in my Nike Free 5.0 reflective running sneaks through the Constitutional Gardens to finally scale the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I try to envision it as a Rocky moment, but I usually find myself clumsily tripping to its peak. When I get there, I just marvel at the sunset. Often it's much more than the mirrored colors on the Reflecting Pool that initiates the internal reflection. I just can never understand how I could be so lucky to have the opportunity to study at one of the finest schools in the country, and moments like these only make that notion richer. All Colonials get this (that's the university's mascot, for the uninformed). And although it has been suggested in the past that the university has a plague of pompous rich kids, I've only witnessed the warmest of friendliness from other students and locals.
Now the only true downfall of being a student of George Washington University (at least those that I report back home) are the inconsistencies of the latest scandals every Thursday night. No, I'm not referring to any on-campus scandals; there aren't too many of those. I'm referring to the hit ABC Thursday night thriller, Scandal. Starring GW alum, Kerry Washington, the show though action-packed often shows fallacies that only a true Washington resident or George Washington student would know. Like on the midseason finale when Olivia Pope's mother disregarded her cell phone into a trash can in front of the White House (there aren't any for safety concerns).
Though the above is not a pressing issue -- and no, I am not your usual Washington pundit -- I just wanted to add a bit of comedic tone and, of course, namedrop Ms. Washington in the process. Can we say best commencement speaker ever? I'll forever be a gladiator after that talk. (Watch it here).
So, as I wrap up, the enthusiasm that I have for my school is the same passion that I want others to have for theirs. As you begin to embark on your decision making for your fairy-tale destination, I wish you the best in your looking for it has been the greatest two years of my life. I've grown, experienced, and studied at a rate that I've never done before. Coming from a prep school in the Midwest, George Washington matched up to that of my secondary education. While the sights and experiences are fantastic -- yeah, meeting Anderson Cooper on the National Mall and having front-row tickets to the Inauguration still seems like a dream -- know that these academics are spellbinding; pushing me and lifting me to my highest potential every day.
To your individual search, I wish you well. To me, George Washington University is the best university in the country, but to you it may be different. Simply find a place that aligns with your vision for your overall path in life. It's never the destination, but always the journey, so find somewhere that contributes to what will only lift you higher as a person in this moment in time. To those who don't get what they originally wanted, always understand that everything happens the way it should. I eventually did realize that going to school in L.A. would have never worked from a technical point of view; the flights, the distance from home - I mean, where would my storage have gone. But I just know I feel pretty lucky to be at this place. Every morning happy to pursue something new and epically exciting. RAISE HIGH!
Tywan Wade is currently a sophomore at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Read more about him in Impossible Dreams: The Story of Discovering My Superpowers.