In the four weeks I’ve been in Washington DC, I can summarize my experience as stressful, exciting, and strikingly unfamiliar. That’s the short and sweet of it. But that’s not a very interesting blog, so here it goes…
Purpose coming to DC: If I am being honest, the answers to something like this keeps shifting in my head. I knew I wanted to study “abroad” in the general sense that I wanted to get out of Spokane. But asking me “why DC?” is a question I don’t think I can answer fully. I decided to go rather spontaneously, but it helped to know that Mel and a couple of mutual friends of ours were going as well. And I don’t think it mattered where I decided to go; DC just happened to be the hand that was dealt. For me, it was more important that I was leaving than where I was going. And in hindsight, I think I made the right choice.
What’s going on: I won’t bore you all by going over class and internship schedules, but it’s busy over here. I have two 4-credit seminars and one 4-credit research project where I will finish a 35-50 page paper by the end of the semester; most of which I am required to do original research for. Also, I work 20 hours a week at the Office of Migrant Education within the Department of Education. I really enjoy my job, but I have yet to pass security clearance so there is very little for me to do until then. If you don’t know about the OME, look them up. They do some dope stuff. But my classes have been a definite highlight. Jaylun and I are in a foreign policy seminar where we go to presentations given by ex-Defense Department officials, Diplomats, Journalists, etc. It’s still surreal to listen to these people talk, but DC has a way of desensitizing you to people with big titles. It’s all very transactional here; everybody has a name and a title. And I swear everyone has business cards on hand. This makes it hard for me to fit in with some of the people, but I’m thankful I found my core group in the program. All in all, its been a good time.
Personal Growth: A lot……okay fine I’ll elaborate. I feel busy here in a way that I haven’t felt before. Not because of the volume of things that I am doing, but because I feel pushed in ways I haven’t before. I’ve learned a lot about my own ability to network and meet people while being more self-sufficient. The funny thing is, it doesn’t feel dramatic or scary as I’m going through it, but I know it makes an impact. Although, there are still times when I feel like I’m on the edge of something; waiting for a stiff breeze to crash everything down. But I wake up everyday knowing everything is going to be okay. There’s probably more I could do to grow while I’m out here. I don’t go out very much or talk to the people that I should. But I guess I’ll settle for a B+ for the time being.