How to Seem Intelligent in the Upcoming School Year

With the impending start of the fall semester, many of us are itching to just get back on campus. This also means in-person classes and activities, but with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we haven’t been able to get to know each other as well as we should. One thing remains true: perception is key. Although that seems superficial, it … Okay, this intro is getting long. Here are a few things you can do to make yourself look smarter.

Know Your Way Around


Usually, the innocent freshman can expect a sage, experienced upperclassmen to tell them where to go. That becomes a little more difficult when about one-third of them are in the exact same boat, and unfortunately, there isn’t always going to be a helpful junior or senior around to come to the rescue. Before the confused masses start wandering across the lawns and around the halls, consider studying a map. In no time, your peers will depend on you, like boats to a lighthouse. That’s how you make friends: necessity.

Dress for Success


For the past year or so, we’ve all had the privilege of dressing casually. Now that our peers are finally going to be able to see below our upper torsos, an upgrade is in order. Watch out folks: business casual (or better) has just become the new casual.

Buy a Fountain Pen


There’s no joke here. Buy a fountain pen. Unless you’re willing to refill cartridges or, God forbid, toss them out when you’re done with them, buying a converter and an ink bottle is highly recommended (mileage depends on usage and nib size). Here are a few recommendations:


Pilot Metropolitan:

Platinum Preppy:

(Tip: You can store ink using the entire body of the pen. To do this, you need an o-ring, silicone grease and a syringe/eyedropper. Here’s a how-to video:






Caliber Filler Paper:

Take Notes on Paper


Now that you have your nifty new fountain pen, it’s time to put it to good use. Taking physical notes has been known to boost understanding of the subject being written down, which makes it something worth considering. Though carrying around a binder can be a little inconvenient, what better way is there to show off your stationary and/or handwriting? You never know when your word processor is going to erase all your work.*

*based on author’s personal experience from writing this article

Read Your Professors’ Books


You’re checking your physics professor’s profile on GU360. As you scroll down toward the bottom, reading about all of their greatest accomplishments, something catches your eye. They’ve written a book: “The Doppler Effect and Earthquakes.” Is it something that interests you? No. Should you read it? Yes. Even if you have no interest in the subject, reading your professor’s book can help you establish some credibility. You’re going to need something to gush about to your professor during office hours, after all. 

Familiarize Yourself with the Acronyms


GUTS, GUSA, and GERMS, oh my! Georgetown does love acronyms, and confusingly enough, many of them begin with “GU.” Similar to memorizing a map of our campus, knowing all of them will help you stand out. People don’t need this information, per se, but it’s just helpful to know. By the way, how do you pronounce GUGS again?

Header Image: THE PEN SHOP

I Spy: Zoom Edition

We’ve all been there. One minute you’re paying close attention to Professor [Redacted]’s lecture on quantum mechanics, and the next minute your eyes have wandered off to your classmates’ rooms in the background of their Zoom squares. What does that poster behind Peter say? Hold on, does Jessica have a dog? Whether you like it or not, getting distracted by your peers is pretty much an inevitability, what with all of us having short attention spans. Here are just some of the things we’ve noticed on our little “brain breaks.”



A common item, posters are an inexpensive way for people to show off their interests. There’s only so much you can fit into your 30 seconds or so of professor-mandated sharing time, after all. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find someone else with a similar Jonas Brothers obsession. 



Like posters, but with more effort. Because of its low visibility, it’s there more for the person the room belongs to than for anyone else. *Squints* Is that Taylor Swift?

World Maps


If there is a map onscreen, there’s a good chance its owner is a School of Foreign Service student. When picking out a world map, please make sure that it’s not missing New Zealand or any other small island that might be forgotten.



Usually an American flag. Though putting one up is usually a controversial decision, all we at the 4E can say about the flag of the United States of America is that it …exists. It wouldn’t hurt to have some variety though, which makes the ever-elusive sighting of a state flag or a flag from another country a pleasant surprise. 



Very cute. 10/10. No complaints here. If you weren’t already distracted from the lecture, you are now.



If sighted, kids will usually be on a professor’s screen. They help humanize their parent as you’re about to be assigned a 10-page research paper due the following week. Oh, and by the way, that paper is worth 30% of your grade. At least the kid is cute!