Celebrity Blogger - Marielle

Celebrity Blogger - Marielle

Every now and then, it's good to take a break. I invited one of my good friends to write about her experiences since she's been here in Washington. This blog post is authored by Marielle McCrum, student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.




This past Sunday saw me sitting in a coffee shop with a broken air conditioner, working feverishly on my final portfolio. It was a scenario not unlike many I have encountered over my undergraduate career, aside, perhaps, from the sweltering heat. I had once again left everything until the last minute and was now in a race against the clock. But despite the fact that much of my TWC grade depended on me submitting the portfolio on time, my rush to complete the project came more from my desire to meet up with friends for one last evening together.


With little thought for double-checking, I hit ‘send’. My portfolio had been uploaded and I was free to go at last. I raced back to the RAF to meet up with my roommate and together we caught the metro to Alexandria, Virginia. After a few stops underground, the tracks finally broke into the outdoors. They wound through trees and stretched over the Potomac. The metro ride provided a refreshing change of pace and scenery from my stressful day on homework-arrest.


Once we arrived in Alexandria, we took a charming trolley down into the old town, passing brick and brightly painted storefronts along the way. In front of a Starbucks, we joined a small group of friends who had been in Alexandria all day. Eager to not spend another second in a café, I was glad to hear that most everyone wanted to wander the quaint streets of the city. We walked to the courthouse, through residential streets, past shops and even to a cemetery. As we ventured, we admired small details like lace curtains blowing in the breeze and tiny alleys leading to the hidden courtyards. Everything looked particularly wonderful in the early evening sunlight that dappled the brick buildings in amber and glowed through archways.



It's hard not to admire the small things in life, even in the big city.


The Weekend Continues


As we sat for dinner – Chinese take-out – by City Hall’s fountain, I couldn’t help but think how fortunate I was to have met such lovely people. Thoughtful, kind, passionate, determined and fun, everyone who surrounded me was a truly interesting individual who could hold their own in a discussion just as well as they could sit back and lend a listening ear. This admiration only grew as we sat on the pier watching the boats sail past, chatting and fooling around with cameras.


What could be better than this?


One of the most important things I was told this summer came during my informational interview. The person whom I chose to interview spoke on the necessity of having a network wherever you establish yourself. She didn’t mean the network you have on LinkedIn or Facebook, but rather a network of people who actually care for you. While these people may not be able to offer you a job, they will offer you a bowl of soup when you’re sick and words of encouragement when you’re down. That is what I had found in this group of people dangling their legs over the edge of the pier.


A wonderful way to end the summer!


The Final Word


Yes, of course this summer has been an excellent opportunity to grow professionally and academically but more importantly, it has been an opportunity to foster meaningful personal relationships. These friendships are more valuable than any skill I learned in the workplace, any fact I learned in a museum and certainly more valuable than the stack of business cards I collected at networking sessions. So if you got a job offer this summer, congratulations! If you got an A, bravo! But if, to achieve these things, you spent every weekend of your Washington summer sweating in a coffee shop, slaving over work, you missed out. I hope that if my fellow TWC interns and I can take anything from this summer, it is long-lasting friendships and an understanding that success is much sweeter when shared.



Marielle McCrum is entering her victory lap year at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  This summer, she has been interning with the Voice of America’s Central Africa service researching and preparing interviews for broadcast in Rwanda and Burundi. Some of the highlights of her summer include attending the International AIDS Conference as a member of the media, interviewing an Olympian and, of course, meeting some truly wonderful people.



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