Let me just start this all out by admitting I have never blogged before, but seeing as it is just me putting my thoughts online instead of on a page of a journal it seems pretty easy.
I’ve been interning through The Washington Center in Washington, DC since September 1st now. For those of you who haven’t heard about TWC, I’m sure you could contact anyone in the Honors College and they would be glad to get you updated. It is basically an intern placement program that also offers classes, professional development workshops and incredible lecture series as well as a dorm to live in while in DC and staff to help keep students up to date on civic engagement opportunities, upcoming rallies, and all the great places to go and see while in DC. It is incredible that our Honors Department has built such a strong relationship with this program because I know of no other way to live in DC for a semester so easily. If I would have had to contact potential internships, find a place to live and deal with the completely different nature of living in DC alone, I am certain it would have been a much more stressful situation. Seriously though, check it out if you haven’t heard of it before.
More about DC though! This city is absolutely crazy and cannot really be understood until you have lived here a while; passing through on a vacation, like in any place, fails to give you true understanding. It is an eye-opening place in both bad and good ways. Already I have realized that there is nothing holding me back from being exactly what I want in life. If you ever worry about having to sell out or give up on your passions to be successful, come to DC and see all the amazing government agencies and NGO’s, for-profits and non-profits that would be more than a perfect fit for you. It has been especially amazing for me with my passion to be involved in the Not-for-Profit sector, to see just how many opportunities there really are. At the same time though, a lot of what you will see will depress you. Our nation’s capitol is crime ridden with parts and pieces often left ignored, and in many ways is an example of the worst of America. It’s depressing to see underprivileged children in our capitol still not receiving proper nutrition in schools. If we cannot do it here, where can we do it? It’s also discouraging to hear, time and time again, people at the top of their fields and organizations using bad science and unsound logic. It is an unfortunate reminder that there is still a lot of work to be done.
Being in DC is a rewarding but awkward experience for me overall. It is nice to always have something new to go and see, but I’m missing the finer points of Arkansas so much. I’m a firm believer that if something is truly great, it will still hold the same shine and sheen no matter how many times you do it. In Arkansas that truly great experience for me is getting to go hiking, rock climbing and camping almost every weekend. Again, while DC is exciting, I worry that the Library of Congress couldn’t hold my attention quite as long as a dusty back-road in rural Arkansas. No one here is outdoorsy! It’s a town of people who have thrown away shorts and hiking boots for suits and dress shoes. I’m glad though that there are people like that in this world, because I know for certain that my trips to DC will continue to be short vacation trips from now on. It’s people who like DC that will get the national work done that I plan to work on at a local or state level.
I must also say that while in DC don’t forget to check out the great restaurants and bars. DC is a community that thrives on happy hour for networking and relationship building, and because of this they have certainly built some great places to keep people entertained.
For now that is enough I think, I could talk forever about specific experiences, but if I drag on too long this first post I doubt I’ll bring anyone back for my second.