I got some time to video chat with Georgetown alum Charly Jaffe, who is also also an ex Google employee, to pick her brain about the culture of the College, as well as the culture at Google! Check out some of the highlights from our conversation below…
I graduated from Georgetown in 2013 with a Bachelor’s in Foreign Service. I majored in International Politics. If I had to sum up Georgetown in three words, they would be engaging (socially and intellectually), challenging, and social.
Georgetown is definitely one of those places with a ‘work hard play hard’ mentality. But even with the high amount of partying, the library was always packed. There was a sense of bragging about “wearing your overworked-ness as a badge of honor” which I find to be more prevalent in DC and NY, than in the West Coast where I’m from. The East Coast is more traditional. In technology industries of the West, you may be overworked but there’s not the same level of pride in it.
The thing I loved the most, as far as academics are concerned, were the special seminars. I had a lot of small seminars, where I could really get to know my professors. So much of the faculty has a ton of practical political experience, which is a very unique type of insight. For example, I had a class with Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State, where we had a big massive 8-week simulation project. Every year the focus shifts, but for my year, we worked on the conflict in Syria. Everyone in my group had a specific role, in this role-playing exercise, we were constantly in the library, with breaking ‘news’, and needing to react to it as it happened. I bonded with my group so much, since this kind of intense focus forced us to be close. On the last day, Madeline came into the room in a leather suit and presented us with what happened and how we did, she played along as the president of the United States. The whole experience felt really genuine, and was something very special that I am pretty sure only Georgetown could pull off.
Location & Lifestyle
One of the reasons I picked Georgetown was because it’s an ‘old school’ campus with gothic architecture and big green lawns. It is such a beautiful campus space and only a 15-minute bus ride into the CBD. I liked being away from things and being in a quiet neighborhood but still having access. Also, it was super pretty in the snow. Every winter, campus was transformed into a fairy tale.
There are a lot of coffee shops and a grocery store on campus that are part of the Co-op, called ‘the corp’. Basically, this is the largest student-run NGO, which reinvests all of its profits back into the students. While Georgetown doesn’t really have any Greek Life, the Corp is kind of like Georgetown’s own special version of this. Students are really excited to talk about it! People get really involved.
Georgetown is a little outside DC in a very pretty, preppy neighborhood. I did hear of occasional robberies and assaults, but when you look at stats compared to other local towns, crime rates were much lower in Georgetown.
When I was a Freshman I lived in the dorms that no one really wanted because they were the farthest away from our classes. While no one really wanted to be in that dorm, everyone who lived there had so much love for it.
The second year, I moved into an apartment. The area around Georgetown was pretty expensive (there’s west Georgetown and Burleith, which is north of Georgetown, are a couple of safe and advisable areas for students to live). It’s more expensive than dorming, but you don’t have to share a room. It cost about $900 – $1,000 a month for a room. I lived in a house so it had a lot of nice options that dorms don’t have.
Even though it is pretty religious, Georgetown has a huge focus on diversity and inclusion. It’s almost an easier place to be someone of a faith because faith is so ingrained in the school. There were two required courses in theology: World Religions and another one you could choose. It just had to be a religious course, not necessarily about Christianity.
As a result of it being a Jesuit university, I learned a lot about Christianity while studying at Georgetown. Jesuits in particular are focused on being men and women of service, so as a result I was around a lot of people who were really passionate about giving back to their community and having a positive impact on the world.
Georgetown is often looked at as being very conservative, which is true, but somehow I could always find pockets of liberals. I didn’t have student health insurance or anything, but even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to get birth control because of Georgetown’s strict, religious abstinence policy.
Georgetown also holds a huge annual Pro Life conference. There is also an active Pro Choice group, but it has its limitations. A lot of this I didn’t notice until I left campus, and saw the news posted by my peers on Facebook.
While its not a campus requirement to be interested in politics – if you aren’t involved in politics, you WILL get more aware of it. It’s like a bucket-list-item for every Georgetown grad to intern on Capitol Hill. So you’re around it, rather, immersed in it. I would say its nice to come with political knowledge, but you don’t need it because you’ll get it there.
John and Jane Hoya are Georgetown’s stereotype couple. They would be blonde, preppy, and from Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket (really wealthy areas of America’s Northeast). I used to play rugby and worked at the student co-op when I was attending Georgetown, so there are obviously people who are not the typical preppy Georgetown student.
The stereotype is a reality in some sense but it’s also more relevant to the other schools, not the school of Foreign Policy. Therefore, my experience wasn’t too much like that. There were, maybe six countries represented in each of my classes. My classes were much more international and globally conscious, but perhaps the business school or the college would be more conservative and preppy.
Working at Google
I got a referral – which got my resume seen. I am pretty sure they hired me because my ability to pull things together. From journalism and interning and to producing at BBC; I had a story backed up by various experiences, which are really useful. The fact that I had a story behind why I was really passionate about everything I’ve done made my application more effective.
Working at Google was great! I would not give up the past 2 years at all! I worked on the business side, I would say it’s a place where its known for its perks, which are great but the expectations are really high. The culture is really great, the fact that it is a ‘bring your full self to work’ atmosphere makes it very socially forward thinking. Google isn’t cutthroat but people are very self motivated. People are cutthroat with themselves and not necessarily with each other. Working in that kind of atmosphere pushed me to really excel.
Simultaneously, it can be hard to be around because everyone is so smart and so talented. At Google, they allow you to do stuff outside you normal role, so since I have always loved teaching, I started training our new hires. I worked with all different parts of Google: foreign policy, non-profit, business; you can really get your hands in everything there.
If you have any further questions about this interview, attending Georgetown or working at Google, contact [email protected]