Beyond ‘What’s your major?’: Finding Depth in Your First Year

SofGFY Seminar LogoWhere are you from? What dorm do you live in? What’s your major? These questions seem to be asked and answered by first-year Hoyas for weeks on end as they leave behind the familiar worlds of home and high school and transition into their new lives on the Hilltop. The answers to those questions are of course important, telling, and meaningful. The answers can ease awkward introductions and initiate easier and perhaps more comfortable conversation. The answers can often uncover unexpected common ground and facilitate new friendships. But these demographic questions always seem to run their course. Classes begin, friendships and friend groups take shape, and routines are discovered.

Last year, Campus Ministry’s Spirit of Georgetown First Year Seminar gathered a group of students in the early spring semester from across campus and across academic interests and disciplines to ask deeper questions. First year students from many different faith traditions as well as no faith tradition wondered, what is the spirit of this place all about? With The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin, S.J. as our guide and the wisdom of Jesuits from across campus to share in and spark those deeper questions, we wrestled and wondered. Small groups broke off every other week to gather in the apartments of chaplains-in-residence and reflect with senior small group leaders. New and exciting questions emerged. What is God calling me to do with this gift of a world-class education that I am receiving? Are my new friends bringing out my best self? What would it be like to slow down and find God amidst the hustle and bustle of this first year of college?

After eachSpirit of Georgetown seminar meeting, whether small or large group, I gave thanks for the opportunity to join first-year students in going deeper. I marveled at how this group, just one semester into their college experience, wasted no time in opening themselves up to the Source of the spirit of Georgetown and to one another. Even with no grade, no promise of an internship, no prerequisite neatly checked off the list, the seminar participants seemed not to mind. Indeed, there seemed to be something deeply fulfilling about devoting an hour and half each week to wondering, walking away with even more marvelous questions than when we began.

Lindsay Kelleher (new window), Chaplain-in-Residence, Copley Hall

Interested in being part of the Spirit of Georgetown First Year Seminar?
The seminar will run from January 14- March 4, 2015.
Contact Colleen Kerrisk at for more information.

Mission and Ministry