What Really Matters? An ESCAPEe Reflection


There is a lot of small talk during your first year of college. The top three most-heard phrases are probably “Where are you from?,” “What are you studying?,” and “What do you do on campus?” While answers to these questions can give you a surface-level understanding of a person—they’re enough to start a conversation—they don’t really give you the chance to find out what a person is really like. At ESCAPE, first-year students have the opportunity to go beyond these surface level conversations and delve in to the questions and answers that really matter: “What do you do for fun?,” “What have you learned from your experiences?,” and “Who are you when no one is looking?”

The conversations I had on ESCAPE were a refreshing change from the busyness of college life. At Georgetown, students are incredibly driven and constantly moving in all directions, but seldom have the time to reflect on their actions and feelings. On campus, we usually learn on an external plane: we read Plato, organize Google calendars, and write research papers. While external learning is incredibly important in teaching us how to analyze and assess (in other words, in teaching us how to think), ESCAPE gave me the opportunity to learn on an internal plane. In a lot of ways, ESCAPE taught me to search for and recognize how I was feeling. During reflections, I had the opportunity to gain meaning from my experiences and learn about myself.

In addition to valuable and meaningful self-reflections, ESCAPE also gave me the chance to connect with my peers and learn about our similarities and differences on a much deeper level. During small group reflections, I realized that my fellow students and I shared a lot of the same emotions and feelings about our experiences. In my small group, many of us shared about times when we had felt lonely or disconnected. The experience of talking to each other about our shared loneliness allowed us to connect and identify with each other on a much more meaningful level, alleviating a lot of the disconnectedness we discussed.

During my ESCAPE weekend, I was lucky enough to hear a talk by Rev. Kevin Wright. He discussed what it meant to be home- a topic that resonates with first year college students, because we are in the process of leaving one home for another. Rev. Wright described home as “the person that your heart is trying to get you to become.” This definition was the most eloquent and accurate description of home I have ever heard, and articulated much of what I think of when I think about being home. The talks we hear on ESCAPE both encourage us to think about our experiences and beliefs, and encourage us to recognize and discuss our own thoughts and reactions. I really identified and connected with Rev. Wright’s message, and I often reflect on it when I am overwhelmed or uncertain about something. His message encouraged me that I can always find a home in myself.

ESCAPE was an awesome experience. Sure there’s fantastic food, a beautiful facility in a natural setting, and genuinely kind and caring people, but there’s also the chance for impactful self-reflection, and the opportunity to establish deep friendships and connections with your peers. ESCAPE was one of my favorite experiences of an awesome year so far at Georgetown, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn about myself and my peers.

Marina Smith, COL ’18