TWC Midterm Assesment

TWC Midterm Assesment

Midterms rolled around last week to remind me that I am, in fact, still in school. I guess sometimes I forget between my 9-5 work days and well-balanced, home cooked meals (ha, yeah right), that I am still a student this semester. But there was no forgetting last week as I watched my peers crowd into the lounge and descend feverishly on their textbooks while I followed suit, studying for my own midterm exam. On top of that, my program adviser paid a cordial, half-semester visit to my internship site for a check-in and my supervisor filled out a midterm evaluation to send back to the University of New Hampshire for review. With all of this assessment going on, I’ve decided that now it’s my turn! Below I have filled out a midterm evaluation for the Washington Center and for my time here in Washington D.C.

Internship -- A
My internship at the Trust for the National Mall quickly moved past ‘resume-builder status’ to one of the most important experiences of my life. The hands-on, real-world work that I am doing at the Trust is giving me the confidence and the skills to be successful in the related careers I hope to try out after college. Having the opportunity to work directly with my supervisor, the Director of Events, has given me a lot of insight into the professional world of event planning. But past the specifics, I have learned the values of taking ownership of work, asking for help when you need it, providing quality work, and loads of other lessons I’ll be able to take with me in life. A semester spent out of the classroom and in a professional internship is well worth the commitment, and truthfully, a nice change of pace.

Class -- A+
My class, Nonprofit Leadership and Management, meets Thursday evening from 6:30 to 9:30 with Dr. Anita Plotinsky. Although there are nights where I fidget in my seat, eager to get out of my skirt suit after a long day of work and class, I am usually riveted with the topics we discuss around the large, rectangular table. My major at the University of New Hampshire is Recreation Management and Policy. My classes at school focus on management of facilities, leadership of people, and how to put on programming. This class is like taking a magnifying glass to the nonprofit sector and applying everything I’ve learned at UNH. I was thrilled to see the course offered when I was signing up for classes this summer. It is related to my major and also helps me understand the logistics of my office and the way a nonprofit, like the one I intern at, works.

Civic Engagement -- B+
One aspect of the Washington Center’s curriculum includes a project surrounding civic engagement. I am on a project team that is focused on domestic violence. This topic has brought me to the Hill to speak with my Representative, had me in contact with and learning more about the University of New Hampshire’s Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program office, and exposed me to speakers who do work with men and women who are victims. The things that I am learning are so important and meaningful.

TWC Programming -- B+
Most Monday afternoons, every student in the Washington Center gathers together to listen to a speaker or attend a seminar. Topics have covered leadership, networking, and Q&A with former US Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle, to name a few. Monday programming is interesting, but my favorite type of programming offered by TWC is more practical. On weekday evenings, the Washington Center often offers helpful seminars. Just the other night I attended a talk called “Negotiating your First Salary.” The real-world advice was so beneficial; I’ve never had a conversation about something like that before.

Housing -- A
I live in the Washington Center’s Residential and Academic Facility (aka the RAF). It is absolutely beautiful and practically brand new, built in 2010. Living in the RAF is pretty much like living in a dorm because everyone in the building is in the same program and close to the same age. That being said, it's a blast! Roomie dinners and even full blown pot-lucks have turned into the norm. Impromptu movie nights, study groups, and Saturday night social gatherings make the RAF a fun place to live. The RAF is only a block away from the NOMA metro station and a short walk from Union Station. Harris Teeter, the nearby grocery store is less than a 10-minute walk away and on the same block as the NOMA station, making it easy to grab the essentials for dinner when you get out of work. I have never felt unsafe in the area that I live in, and if I ever do, the walking safety escort service offered by the RAF is only a phone call away.

Food -- C-
I hate cooking. Hate it. So making my own dinner every night after work is usually no big production (except for the whining), I stick to something easy. I don’t think anyone who really knows me would expect me to give ‘food’ as high a grade as a C-. But the good thing about living in an apartment is that I actually have to learn how to cook. So I’ve figured out how to make more things than just mac & cheese (though it’s still my go to). If you can read you can do anything. That doesn’t mean that I like it though.

Sightseeing -- A+
There is so much to see! So much to do! Between the Smithsonian museums, exploring the monuments and memorials, community festivals, touring cultural neighborhoods, and food trucks, I just can’t get enough of D.C.! I’m always taking advice from people at work and in the Washington Center on what to do next! Boredom? What’s that?

Nightlife -- A-
Bars are bars, no matter where you are. The two big differences between D.C. bars and the nightlife at home is the price of drinks, and the sheer number of places to go. There’s never any concern, come Friday or Saturday night, where we are going to find a party. It usually comes down to which neighborhood we haven’t explored yet: Adam’s Morgan, H Street, Dupont, Downtown, Chinatown, U Street…every area has something unique and exciting to offer. Just be sure to have lots of cash or a card with you -- believe me, you’ll be using it.

Friends -- A+
Because mac & cheese is a perfectly acceptable dish to bring to a pot luck after a long day at work, because the safest way to walk from the Metro at 3 a.m. is linked arm in arm, because toe-nails don’t paint themselves, because visiting museums is more fun in a group, and also because we live in the same building, I’ve made some really excellent friends in the Washington Center. TWC has brought me into contact with people from across the country and all over the world. I’m so excited to be here with these like-minded, driven students and I’m already getting a little sad to think about move-out day!

Money -- C-
Everything is so much more expensive than it is in my college town, New Hampshire. And while I try to search for deals and be very thoughtful with my spending, some things are just unavoidable. For example: food, bus fare, shoes, Potbelly sandwiches, Zombie Fest tickets, beer….  Okay not all exactly necessities. I’m here to gain some professional experience with an internship, but also to enjoy myself while I’m here. I worked this summer for a reason and that was so I can get the most out my D.C. adventure. I do have to plan out my money more so than if I were home, but that in itself is a great experience. It would be nice to have a little extra money sometimes. I went on a tour of the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing the other day to see if they’d give out free samples at the end… no such luck.

The final grade averages out to an A-. But when I consider the incredible experiences presented by being here during an election year, the warmer weather than New Hampshire, and the great fun that I’m having here, it easily comes out to be an A+!

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