A Thank You Letter

A Thank You Letter

Dearest family, friends, and teachers,

I’ve only been home a week and already my semester in Washington D.C. feels so far away.  Back at home, the streets are unlit, the bars are half-full, and camouflage is appropriate attire  It took so long to get used to D.C., but it only took a couple days for things to feel normal again in Western Massachusetts. Everyone I’ve seen since I’ve come home -- friends and family alike -- have asked me the same question: “How was D.C.?”  And to everyone I answer the same: “It was amazing!”

Initially I wanted to study abroad; I had my heart set on a semester in New Zealand. But financially, it wasn’t in the cards. Now that I’m home, now that I’ve had such an incredible and unique experience, I can honestly say that I am so glad that I found the Washington Center program.  A semester at an internship instead of taking classes was a welcome break. I learned so much more at my internship than I might have in a class, and that experience is invaluable. My first time living in a city, I did not expect to love it as much as I did. It really expanded my mind as to where I might live and what I might do in the future. Sitting here now, typing this out, feeling reflective and appreciative of my time with the Washington Center, I’d like to take the time to thank a few folks who made my time in D.C. not only possible, but incredible.

First, I have to thank you, Dad. Thank you for helping me financially, and Mom, thank you for that, too. Thank you so much for driving me all the way down to D.C. and then picking me up 3-and-a-half months later. For teaching me the basics of cooking over summer break, for the pep talks, the warm support, and the hours you spent listening to me over the phone, thank you.

For your support in every way, thank you, Meme. Thank you for being my biggest fan, for reading my blog, for filling my mailbox with mail, and my inbox with sweet messages. You found ways to make me smile even from 400 miles away. Thank you also for getting me home for Thanksgiving; I’m so glad I was able to spend it with family.

To Ms. Dinardo, the University of New Hampshire liaison for the Washington Center, thank for your enthusiasm and support to get me down to D.C. I was so intimidated; everyone applying seemed to be a Political Science major. Without your encouragement, I wonder if I would have completed my application! I’m so glad that you saw my unusual major as an opportunity instead of a hindrance. Thank you to my UNH advisor, Mr. Hegarty, for being so flexible and helpful with preparing for my semester in D.C. Thank you, Mr. Zamansky and Mr. Trauntvein, for taking the time to write me a letter of reference. And thank goodness for the UNH Career Services resume reviewers!

The Washington Center deserves a separate thank you for putting together such a quality program. I’d also like to thank Sweeta, my placement advisor, for helping to place me at my internship at the Trust for the National Mall. Thank you to Josh, my program advisor, for your guidance, feedback and support. I’m so happy that you were my advisor; you are excellent at what you do. Also, thank you Reid, the student blog coordinator, for hiring me on as a TWC blogger and for all of your time spent editing my posts. This opportunity has uncovered a passion for writing I didn’t know that I had.  Blogging has added to my experience in D.C., forcing me to reflect, inspiring me to get out there.

This past semester, I was enrolled in the class called Nonprofit Leadership and Management. I absolutely loved this class. Topics we discussed really helped me understand and put into perspective the work that I was doing at my internship. The class really fit into my major, Recreation Management and Policy, and I’m excited to take back what I learned to UNH. Thank you to my dedicated, experienced, and passionate professor, Dr. Plotinsky for keeping our 3-hour classes engaging and useful. Also, thank you to my 14 enthusiastic classmates for making class interesting and studying fun.

Life in the Residential Academic Facility (the RAF) was outstanding. Thank you to everyone at the concierge desk for keeping us safe and for keeping us smiling with your endless “good mornings” and “have a nice days.”  Thank you, Nate, for keeping the place running and for fixing my dishwasher. And to all of the RAs, thank you so much for your patience, your dedication, and your professional support.

My D.C. experience would not be close to complete without my internship at the Trust for the National Mall as their marketing and events intern. Thank you to the entire Trust team for welcoming me into the office this past semester. Thank you especially to Katherine, Director of Events, for giving me the opportunity to work directly with you.  The hands on experience that I took away from this semester is absolutely priceless.  Thank you for serving as a mentor and resource for me. I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to know you; you do outstanding work and I was honored to be your intern.  I also want to thank you, Mindy, for making me feel so welcome at the Trust and for teaching me how to use the D.C. bus system. A special shout out to the fabulous Trust interns: Rachel, Allison and Anthony -- for making me laugh at work, for lunch-break adventures, and for helping me battle the printer.

The friendships that I made in the District are long-lasting and deep. Thank you to my newest found friends for making my semester in D.C. remarkable. To the boys of room  615, the girls in 408, and the guys of 107, thank you for the adventures, the conversations, the laughs, the hugs, and the immeasurable love that we found in Washington, D.C.

To sit here and list off everyone who has shaped my experience while in Washington D.C. is impossible. To everyone who is a part of the Washington Center program and to those I met in D.C. who are not, thank you. To the bus drivers, the bartenders, the Metro riders, and taxi drivers; to the security guards, the tour guides, the politicians, and street musicians, thank you. To everyone who made my junior fall semester one of the best adventures of my life, thank you. Thank you so very much.


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