Just for the Fun of It.

A few sights on campus, from left: American's mascot, the eagle, sits near Bender Arena. | GMU's Cam Long is one of several Patriots to watch. | Clairvoyant Lisa Williams will appear at GWU's Lisner Auditorium. | Georgetown University opened its doors in 1789. | Terrence Howard will be a guest at Howard's homecoming. | The etching
A few sights on campus, from left: American's mascot, the eagle, sits near Bender Arena. | GMU's Cam Long is one of several Patriots to watch. | Clairvoyant Lisa Williams will appear at GWU's Lisner Auditorium. | Georgetown University opened its doors in 1789. | Terrence Howard will be a guest at Howard's homecoming. | The etching "Waiting" is on view at the University of Maryland's Driskell Center. (From Left: American University; By Tracy A. Woodward -- The Washington Post; Pr Newswire; By Phil Humnicky © 2007 For Georgetown University; By Lucas Jackson -- Reuters; By Greg R. Staley © Dr. And Mrs. William H. Pogue)
Friday, October 17, 2008; Page WE25

Falling in and out of love, making gargantuan mistakes, sleeping till noon and never getting enough rest. Finding the lone professor who sees some spark of potential greatness. Partying, procrastinating, pulling all-nighters. Sitting on a leaf-covered lawn with Shakespeare, Aristotle and a throng of denim-clad 19-year-olds. Hearing, for the first time, an 18th-century verse that embodies every unuttered longing. Finding independence, self-sufficiency. Spending all night in conversation with a dormmate who by dawn becomes family.

College.

It always ends, of course, which is part of the ephemeral glory.

But there's no rule that you can't go back again. Especially in Washington, where we're surrounded by vibrant academic institutions, each brimming with seekers and scholars and artists.

Head to campus for a play, a public lecture, an exhibition or a polo match. Almost everything is free or close to it, and the schools want interaction with the community. It won't put you back in that freshman dorm, of course -- and would you really want that? -- but see what good it does just to walk across a quad or read a fully fliered bulletin board. Just to be there.

On the following pages we'll tell you what's happening on campuses around the Beltway and ways to get involved. We'll show you how -- even briefly -- to relive the dream.

-- Ellen McCarthy


© 2008 The Washington Post Company