Wow. Let me take a second to catch my breath. I arrived in DC a week ago and I feel like I haven’t stopped moving, learning and taking in the sights. There is so much going on in this city and it seems like everyone has someplace to be. I know there is enough here to keep me busy for the next two months and I will continually be discovering new things.
For anyone who missed my last couple of posts, I’m participating in an academic internship program called The Washington Center. I’m interning at The Peace Corps (which kind of makes me the rockstar here) and taking a research and writing class.
After a six hour train ride, I settled into my apartment and met my three roommates. There was nothing scheduled for Wednesday so we just hung out and took a trip to Target to stock our fridge. Our apartment is very nice and it’ll be a great place to live for the next ten weeks.
On Thursday we headed into the city for the first day of orientation. Everyone got split up into their respective programs. Mine is the Advocacy, Serve & Arts program. Of course we had to start with a classic icebreaker to get to know each other and then our program advisor went over everything we’re going to be doing this summer, which is quite a bit. The Washington Center includes many components besides the internship. I have to do a “civic engagement” project which has to be some kind of ongoing service or involvement in public policy. I’m still looking for something to do. We also have a seminar which meets every Monday and varies every week. It includes lectures from important people, networking and visits to various organizations. In addition to my classwork, I also have to hand in periodic reflections on my internship work and develop a portfolio throughout the semester. I’m going to be busy!!
In the afternoon, we traveled to the CityYear office, which is a long term service organization. One of the goals of TWC is to expose us to as many options as possible for postgraduate work. They also want to give us chances to network. There was a short presentation about the City Year and then we participated in some leadership activities. The activities helped me become more aware of my leadership style and what I need to work on. It also helped us get to know each other better.
On Friday we headed over to the Department of the Interior, catching glimpses of The White House, Treasury building and other important places along the way. Everyone in the program gathered for a general orientation, which gave us a chance to meet even more people. We listened to riveting (yes that is sarcasm) presentations about professionalism, the goals of TWC and diversity. As the staff of TWC talked to us about the importance of making the most out of our internships and the fact that this is not a dress rehearsal, but a real job (albeit an unpaid one), the reality of what I was about to embark on really sank in. Nervousness began to encroach on my excitement but Memorial Day weekend still stood between me and the Peace Corps.
If there’s one thing I know, it’s that this summer is going to be very different from last…