A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to go to Washington, D.C. with an organization I'm involved with on campus. Not only was it my first time to D.C., but it was also my first time on a plane. While most students get to go to D.C. with their eighth-grade class, my school had ended that a few years before my class (now it's reinstated and my sister is going in November, but it's fine, I'm not salty). This trip was planned so that the group of students, all members of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), had the opportunity to meet with some alumni from Bowling Green State University and have some time to explore the city. And man, oh man, did we do both.
The first day of our trip required us to be on the road to Detroit airport by 3:30 a.m., which means we got up at 2:45 a.m.. Once we got to the airport and made it through security, we sat by our terminal for nearly two hours. Since it was my first time on a plane, I was getting more and more anxious and nervous the longer we waited to board. Eventually, we boarded the plane sometime after 7 a.m., and I had a middle seat between two girls from PRSSA. The take-off was definitely unexpected. I immediately got dizzy, and the feeling of the tires lifting off the ground made me feel like I was going to fall through the floor of the plane. I tried to focus on one thing and to talk to the girls in my aisle to distract myself.
Every time there was a pocket of air or rumbling, I just pictured that I was in a car on a road trip going over potholes. It actually helped quite a lot. So, after we landed and got to our hotel, we had time to change and explore the city before our first meeting. The group of girls I went with stopped for breakfast, and then we went to see the White House. Of course, stopping along the way to take pictures of us with the beautiful trees.
At our first meeting, we learned about what a public relations major can do in a government job. The man we spoke with worked as a lobbyist and handles PACs. It was a really interesting discussion, but I was exhausted and kept falling asleep, oops. The second opportunity was at the Kennedy Performing Arts Center, where we were given a tour of the building, saw a concert, and ate dinner. This was really amazing, as we got to see inside a theater and the main concert hall. It was really interesting hearing this alum's journey from college to D.C.
The second day was another busy one. We left the hotel by 9:15 a.m. to go to the Newseum, which was a large museum about journalism and journalistic accomplishments, in addition to history about the United States. It was fascinating and we all enjoyed seeing so many different things at once. There was a section that had newspaper headlines that are changed every day, which really surprised most of us. We then went to our final networking opportunity of the trip at an agency. There was a presentation about the various parts of this company, which was more my style and what I wanted to do. After that, we were all free to do whatever we wanted until the flight left the following evening.
That Friday evening, my group went to a happy hour where we talked, ate appetizers, and drank. It was a lot of fun getting to know these people, there were like 10 of us because I had only known a couple. That was my favorite part of the trip: getting to know these girls and becoming such quick friends. After that, we met up with three other members and went to dinner at a nicer restaurant, where the festivities continued. We drank some more, talked a lot more, and ate actual food. It was a pretty chill day, but it was so much fun.
Our last day started at 10 a.m., and we decided to see the monuments. We started with the Jefferson Memorial, which incited a new photo shoot. We talked through the beautiful, in-bloom, cherry blossom trees and got some amazing photos. We then stopped at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on our way to the Lincoln Memorial. Then we walked to the Capitol Building, pausing to take pictures of the Washington Monument.
During our 50-minute walk, we made sure to take hundreds of photos and get those Instagram-worthy, picture-perfect, photos. We managed to hit everything we wanted and make it to the airport with plenty of time before our flight. It was an exhausting three days, but they were so wonderful, I don't have the words.
This trip really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I was super nervous about flying for the first time since I was approved to go on the trip, last October. But I overcame that fear and made it through the flight. I also became friends with wonderful people that I only wish I had befriended sooner. This trip was a really great thing for me to do and be a part of and I am so glad I not only had this opportunity but pushed myself to go on this trip and make memories with some pretty great people!