Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

People are what make this place great

Margaret Bauer

I’m a tour guide. Every week someone asks me my most and least favorite things about Washington University and just about every week I lie. I rotate the “things that I don’t like” based on the crowd. Sometimes it’s the career center, sometimes it’s courses that lack syllabi, and-as many of you who know me well can attest-it’s even been Student Life. But as I prepare to leave campus in a matter of days, it’s not the things I dislike that I’ll remember most.

The reason that I lie to tour groups about my favorite thing is because I’m lazy. Trying to explain to people who’ve never been a part of this community what makes the University great takes far too much effort. If I’ve got a small group and they really seem interested, I may try and break it down for them, but generally it’s not simply worth the effort that could result in me backing into some high-speed bicyclist. A large group might hear about the flexible curriculum, the opportunities for co-curricular leadership, or study abroad-but the real gem at the University is the people.

Somehow, this place attracts the best people in the world. As a (former) East Coaster, I can say that students here are indisputably less pretentious, less competitive, more involved and more cooperative than at any Northeastern college I’ve ever been in contact with. I genuinely believe that I met some of the most incredible people on the planet right on my freshmen floor, Ruby 2. When ResLife takes the most intelligent, self-motivated and enthusiastic 18-year-olds in the country and sticks 50 of them on a floor with four bathrooms, out comes a “Real World” episode waiting to happen. I could have been rich if I’d taped it. What the University got was a family that continues to spread its dysfunction across campus.

Ruby 2 was a freshman floor in so many ways: we cleaned up our neighbor’s puke so she didn’t get the $50 fine, floorcest happened right in front of my eyes (and it wasn’t pretty) and we abused the original Napster until it was snatched from our hands. Remember when going home for Thanksgiving seemed like the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Those memories will stay with me for years to come; however, it was the less practical experiences that I’ll remember for a lifetime: staying up until 4 a.m. talking about God’s presence among us; learning about the experiences of those who were from what seemed like a totally different world than me; and watching as over the next few years my floormates evolved into campus leaders, many distinguishing themselves in community service, Greek life, student government, and academics.

And the best part is that it hasn’t ended with them. Even now, every week I meet more excited, motivated, driven, articulate, and amazing people in the class of 2004. I only hope that as I move on to the next phase of my life I can continue to encounter people who enrich it at least half as much as students here have.

I wonder if any engineering firms need a tour guide.

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