Arielle Holland

Arielle

You are an upcoming senior in the College- how have you enjoyed your time here at GU? What are your expectations for your senior year?

What a question. There are barely words enough to describe how I feel about Georgetown. It is, without doubt, my home, my Hilltop. I love it. I miss it terribly. If I go to graduate school, I'll probably want to do it here. I love the view of the Potomac from the roof of LXR, I love tabling in Red Square, I love Chicken Finger Thursdays at Leo's, I love Healy Hall, I love the graveyard in wintertime, I love GUGS burgers on Friday afternoons. I love it all. As for my expectations for the upcoming year, I am overwhelmed with excitement. It'll be my hardest courseload yet, but I am enchanted by the course material and I'll be learning with a number of Georgetown's most distinguished faculty. I'll be living off campus with my three best friends, two of whom I met freshman year, the other I've known since I was a kid. I only regret that a Bachelor of Arts isn't a five-year degree. I don't want to have to leave.

Tell me a little about your Government major, what led you to this area of study? You are also pursuing a PJC minor, what led you to this?

Throughout my life, I had paid attention to current events, and thanks to my parents, I was very aware of the world. But I didn't feel any special connection to politics. My favorite subject in high school was chemistry, and I thought that would be the path I'd follow. But in my sophomore year, my county, Palm Beach County, home of the butterfly ballot, became the center of the political universe. Day after day, for a month and a half, the headline of my local paper was invariably related to the recount. I sat and watched as a quirk in the system put a man who I thought was nothing but a dunce into the White House. I realized that it wasn't enough to just pay attention, to follow the news. Something had to be done to change the news. I had to get involved. I started organizing in local politics, and I decided that I'd leave the chemistry to someone else. So, I came to Georgetown knowing that I wanted to major in Government. I wanted to learn about this system that put President Bush where he is, and I wanted to know what I could do to really make a difference.

The Certificate in Jewish Civilization was also a long time in coming. For elementary and middle school, I attended a private Jewish day school. The values and history of the Jewish people, my people, were engrained in me early and they were important to me. But I went to a public high school, and despite my involvement in the B'nai B'rith youth movement, my ties to my Judaism were beginning to slip. But then I came to Georgetown, and I'm so glad that I did. When I got here, I was worried, in a way. I was coming to a Catholic school. There would be crucifixes in my classrooms. There would be Jesuits walking around, teaching classes. I didn't know how that would affect me. But I quickly realized that my fears were misplaced, very misplaced. I learned that Georgetown was a place that encouraged spirituality, in all of its forms. In Problem of God freshman year, my Jesuit professor didn't try to convert me, he tried to open me up to God, however I envisioned him. And soon my Judaism was important to me again, very important. More important than ever, in fact. I started going to services every week - something I had never done in my life. After I finished my language requirement in French, I decided to use my electives to re-learn Hebrew. And when Georgetown decided to allow its students to study abroad in Israel, I jumped at the chance. When PJC was opened to students in the College, I hardly needed to think about it. There was no question that I would sign up. I am so thankful to Georgetown for allowing me what I see is one more way for me to reconnect to the Jewish community, to understand intellectually what I feel emotionally.

Have you thought yet about what you would like to do after you graduate? How will your current academic interests play into life after College?

After I graduate, I'd like to work on a presidential election campaign. The timing is perfect, as I see it, for me to make a long-term commitment and a real contribution to such an effort. I'm constantly on the lookout for a candidate, the perfect candidate, to work for. And hopefully, the candidate I pick will win, and then I'll have a job for four or eight years.

I know you're in Israel right now. Tell me more about this, are you with a group from GU, how long have you been there – are you currently taking classes there?

I am one of three Georgetown students in Israel on semester-long study abroad programs. The other two are in Jerusalem. I'm in the south, in Be'er Sheva. I got here in January, and for six weeks I was enrolled in Ulpan, an intensive Hebrew course. After that finished, the real semester began, and I started taking a full course-load in classes run by Ben-Gurion University's overseas program. The classes were taught in English, about topics related to Israel and Judaism (my courses: Introduction to Jewish Mysticism, Western Foreign Policy toward the Mid East, Political Theory and the Israeli Political System, Ethnic Relations in Israel, and Hebrew). We just had our final exams last week, and I'll be in Israel for just under one more week.

Have you traveled to any other places this semester?

This semester I took a long weekend in Athens and another one to Madrid. Athens was an amazing experience, because I'm really interested in ancient Greek philosophy, and it's a really unique city. In Madrid I visited Georgetown friends; it was really nice to see familiar faces and reminisce about the Hilltop. But most of my traveling has been around Israel, to sites historic, natural, and religious.

Tell me a little about yourself.

The game I like to play most is basketball. I played in high school and middle school and it's always been a lot of fun for me. As for clubs, activities, and interests, it all comes down to politics. American politics. Democratic politics. Jewish politics. It's all I do. When I'm not on the Hilltop, I also enjoy the outdoors – I snowboard in Colorado every spring with my mother, I've been doing a lot of hiking here, and I love watersports and the feeling of fine sand between my toes. Oh, and I love walking around D.C. and saying hello to Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Especially when it's snowing. Or when the cherry blossoms are out.