Veterans Day in Arlington

Veterans Day in Arlington

 

We’re now long past the halfway mark of this semester, and one week from Thanksgiving. This also means that we’re about one month away from graduating and departure. I’ve realized it’s time for me to start looking for another job/internship for this coming summer (for all you employers who are reading this). If possible, I’d love the opportunity to come back to Washington. Returning here was also recommended to me by a few prominent individuals in the D.C. area who I’ve discussed potential future career paths with.

 

One of these people who provided me with that advice was actually someone I met with and interviewed for information about his job. He is a very successful lobbyist and is labeled as one of the top-10 hired guns in Washington. Our discussion was incredibly informative and enlightening, and most importantly, motivating. He provided with me information about a day in the life of a lobbyist, what the career specifically entails, and who he primarily interacts with. The idea of lobbying a congressman or senator to agree with either you or your client and to provide them with insight and inspiration to sign a specific piece of legislation or to make changes in laws and policy is really intriguing. If I do decide to return to Washington, I think I will try and work on Capitol Hill or a lobbying firm.

 

Alumni Networking

The other night at The Washington Center Headquarters Building, we had a networking reception, where current students of the program had the ability to meet with alums to discuss future positions in whatever company they work for, or just to introduce themselves and network. It was a successful event, and a lot of people showed up.  There was dinner and refreshments (which always makes an event better), but I got to meet some great people. What I’ve noticed is that most alumni of TWC are successful, and for whatever reason, do end up coming back to Washington. There are so many alums throughout the city; it’s actually difficult not to run into one.

 

For the past two weeks now, my Panamanian roommate has been reminding me about the international festival that the students from other countries put on. It finally happened the other night, and being the good roommate that I am, I had to go cheer and support the Panama reps. I have to admit, I’m really glad I went. Every country that was represented brought food specific to their culture, so I was able to try authentic cuisine from Puerto Rico, India, Panama, Mexico, and many others. Canada was there as well and brought these great ketchup lays potato chips (to their credit I think the rest of their food may have been eaten)…

 

After the dinner, we all went into the Blinken Auditorium to learn more about the different cultures and countries. I learned facts like Kazakhstan is the ninth biggest country in the world. We then got to see a show produced by the nationals of the different countries. There was singing and dancing, and it was incredibly entertaining.  The festival got a great turnout, there must have been 150 people watching the show.

 

 

Sunday was Veterans Day, and I had one of the most amazing experiences at Arlington National Cemetery. It was a great way to remember all that our servicemen have sacrificed. It’s an incredibly chilling and emotional experience, to walk around and see the graves all of all those who gave their lives to serve our country.

 

President Obama gave a speech at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and then what looked like Marines, judging by their uniform, gave a ceremony at noon. They waited in line, and split up in different directions along the pathways, perfectly in sync. Six men moved toward three cannons, and prepared to fire a salute. It’s truly amazing how beautiful a twenty-one gun salute by cannon can be. Every time they fired a shot the entire cemetery shook. Sure, they were shooting blanks, but each shot of the cannon pierced the air and captivated the bystanders. The sound would echo for a few seconds and would dissipate creating a scene of silent tranquility until the next shot.

 

It was so humbling to be there and to try and understand the sacrifices these men and women have made for the United States of America. I made sure to thank every single person I saw in uniform for serving, because I know that what they were, and are still willing to sacrifice is more than anyone could ask. I am so glad I went to Arlington, and going on Veterans Day is something every American should do once in their life.

 

 

After the ceremony was over, we waited out front for the motorcade to drive by.  That was also cool to see. We waited and watched, and all of a sudden, President Obama drove by in the back of his limousine, happily waving.

 

 

I’ve seen and done more in a semester here in Washington than I feel like I’ve accomplished in a long time. I always feel like I’m in hyper speed down here, but I can say that when I go to a place like Arlington Cemetery, it’s nice to be able to take time to reflect on not only my experiences, but others’ as well.  It really got me thinking what it’s like to be in Washington, what I’ve done and accomplished here, and what it means to be an American. I’ve made some personal changes in my goals and what I want to accomplish in my life since I’ve been here, and I really feel like I’ve matured great lengths.

 

Things that were important before have become insignificant, and I’ve really been able to prioritize the things that matter. Being in a corporate environment five days a week like a true working professional has led me to different conclusions about what I want to achieve during my life. Meeting and having discussions with the amazing people I’ve interacted with down here has really shifted my motivations, and I thank and credit The Washington Center and The Financial Services Roundtable for that.

 

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