I never thought I would be spending four months as an intern in Washington, DC — roaming the halls of the Capitol building, writing memos from briefings, going to happy hours with senators, and yes, bringing the Congresswoman coffee (she takes it black).
But, here I am, spinning in a whirl from leaving a place so alive and fast paced and ready to create a new story, to a town that moves by its own agenda, stuck in the habit of living. After time to collect my thoughts and convince myself that it was not actually a simulation, I have concluded that those four months provided me with the most powerful, priceless knowledge which I learned from the most extraordinary, passionate people, leading me to be exposed to the most impeccable, eye-opening experiences. I discovered more about myself in such little time than ever before. I saw more surreal events than I could ever imagine. I began to understand things that I will never think the same of again — and I plan to share just a glimpse of this.
Every day, I read the New York Times, cover to cover. I watched C-Span and MSNBC through the full cycle of stories. I subscribed to as many bipartisan news outlets as I could find and read until I exhausted them all. I was fully immersed in politics, surrounded by a world of women and men in suits. I quickly learned that DC is the largest playground for all nerds striving for the goal, no matter the side one falls. It is a place where one can stand up and speak their voice, and everyone turns to listen no matter what side of the ideological spectrum one falls.
Despite the strong voices and great diversity, there is actually less division between people, creating an environment, unlike any other city.
People come from every state to tour around the monuments or to live and work at one of the many nonprofits, government departments, or the Hill. With this comes every kind of food you can think of on each block, small gardens offering free, fresh herbs, and a vibrant personality for each of DC's neighborhoods. You can't walk down the block without running into beautiful, historical townhomes with a small "leave one, take one" library (and surprisingly, not all books are political). You must designate hours to stroll through the National Art Gallery, absorbing the beauty of the masterpieces created by artists, like Monet and Degas. And, you have to make it to the Tidal Basin to see the gorgeous Cherry Blossoms bloom in the springtime.
When I got to DC those four months ago, I was far from understanding what this city had to offer. I was far from being prepared for the events I would attend. I was far from realizing how I would like to further my professional development. But, Capitol Hill and a variety of people along the way helped me fathom the extent of my options, exposed me to new and exciting ideas, and encouraged me to pursue new ideas, unlike anyone, had ever before. I am forever grateful for who the city made me be, for the better, and I hope to find myself there again as I take the next steps in my life. I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to be vulnerable to a new city because you never know what you may learn about yourself.