By: Jeffrey Adelson
Photos by: Serena Pu
Transfer students can often be easy to forget about, but they occupy a unique place at any university. Being both new students and having already studied at another school, this gives them a unique perspective on the respective cultures found at the schools at which they have studied. They are able to observe both as insiders and as outsiders. I spoke with three students who transferred to Georgetown this year to hear what they had to say about Georgetown, their previous schools, and how this relates to their personal style. First up is…
Cristina Ibarra, from San Francisco, CA, is a junior in the College studying Philosophy and Theater Studies, and she transferred to Georgetown this year from Mount Holyoke College, located in South Hadley, MA. As with just about any transfer student you meet, Cristina’s decision to transfer was influenced by a number of factors including what she liked about Mount Holyoke and what she found lacking there. Cristina found the philosophy department at Mount Holyoke very fulfilling and was very close with a few of the professors in the department, with whom she continues to be close despite transferring. Generally, she enjoyed the culture at Mount Holyoke, but she found her classes outside of philosophy disappointing and found certain aspects of the common culture frustrating. Mount Holyoke students seemed to possess a polarizing stance towards men, who would either be rejected outright or immediately made the center of attention, something Cristina thought defeated the purpose of an institution that tries to empower women. Cristina found the more ‘hipster’ and ‘artistic’ style of Mount Holyoke students to her liking, and she especially enjoyed the presence of people on campus who presented as men or presented themselves androgynously and the styles that came with these identities.
Coming to Georgetown, Cristina was initially struck by how ‘preppy’ Georgetown was and by the much more politically conservative environment, but in her first month here she has adjusted to the Georgetown culture and has begun to find her place in it. She had wanted to come to Georgetown for its more rigorous academic environment and because of its Jesuit identity, which related to the culture and religion in which she was raised. Immediately on arriving, Cristina was told by a fellow transfer that she didn’t look like the ‘typical Georgetown student’ and she said that did worry her, but she was also aware of that when she decided to come to Georgetown. Cristina describes her own style as versatile, able to wander freely between preppy, ‘hipster,’ and ‘edgy’ looks. She enjoys this versatility and enjoys presenting herself differently based on her plans for the day or her location. While she still thinks she is not a ‘typical’ Georgetown student she has started to find other people who remind her of her friends from Mount Holyoke. Cristina thinks that Georgetown will likely change how she presents herself in the next two years and she is currently immersing herself in philosophy courses and takes part in Masque and Bauble.