An ESCAPE from the Georgetown Bubble

10636862_10153306046304965_826821772773055277_oI didn’t realize how much I missed a clear view of the night sky. The first month of my freshman year at Georgetown was so full of friends to make, classes and clubs to start and a brand new city to explore, that I forgot about my own context. Growing up in the suburbs of Denver, I could escape the light pollution with a 20-minute drive to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Having nature as a part of my everyday routine gave me an appreciation for nature and a strong feeling that I was a greater part of the ecosystem with certain roles and responsibilities.

It was during ESCAPE, an overnight retreat at the Calcagnini Contemplative Center located near the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, that the night sky came back to focus in rural Virginia. The experience made me think about my context and just how important it is to take a step back and understand where I came from, where I am now and where I want to go.

ESCAPE gives Georgetown freshman an opportunity to break the “Georgetown bubble” and escape their busy schedules to reflect on their experiences, relax and recharge. The retreat is based on the Jesuit principle of contemplation in action. While my peers and I are quick to the action part, our hectic lifestyles can lead us to forget to find the meaning in what we are doing and who we want to be. After a busy and transformative first month on campus, I found this time to reflect, de-stress and refocus absolutely crucial. The stories of upperclassmen and college graduates resonated with all of us and helped us to better understand ourselves and respect the idea that college is a journey. We shouldn’t be and aren’t expected to have everything already figured out.


ESCAPE was also about having fun with old and new friends. We ate incredible French toast, sang at the top of our lungs, watched each other attempt to “whip” and “nae nae” and keeled over in laughter while playing charades. It can be incredibly hard to find time to have this kind of wholesome fun while chained to technology and commitments on campus.


While I can certainly say that I enjoy the bustle of our nation’s capital and the culture of the East Coast, I found a taste of home in the Shenandoah Valley that reminded me of the importance of context and balance. I came back to campus with new friends and a fresh perspective on why I made the leap to attend Georgetown and what I want to do in my time here. I may not ascribe to a particular faith tradition, but as I learn about the values of a Jesuit education, such as cura personalis (care for the whole person), I deeply appreciate how Georgetown takes these core values to heart to educate both body and soul. Georgetown recognizes that not all learning takes place in the classroom – some of it takes place while gazing at the stars on a mild September night.

Written by Bailey Bradford, C’19