Home Institution: Central Michigan University
Internship Site: Rock Creek Nature Center
Program: Science, Technology and Society Program
After having time to reflect on my experience in D.C., I feel that I can fully appreciate everything that has happened because of the Washington Center. It was an experience that will resonate for a long time, and it had its fair share of work and play. There were some flaws in the program, but they are small compared to all the positive experiences that I had living and working in the heart of D.C. I would recommend the Washington Center to those who are interested, but there are certain things to keep in mind when signing the paperwork.
After living and working in the nation's capital for an entire semester, I thought I would share some advice on what to see and how to make the most of your Washington, D.C. experience. The capital can be a bit overwhelming and trying to balance a social life and professional development can be frustrating. I would often stumble as I attempted to finish homework, go to work, and hang out with the other Washington Center students. Hopefully, this summarizes everything I wish I knew during my first few weeks in D.C. Sightseeing
The weeks are drawing to a close, and the Washington Center experience is quickly wrapping up. Everyone is frantically finishing projects, studying for exams, and squeezing in all they can before the semester is up. In all this chaos, it's hard to believe that in a short time we'll all be back in our respective communities. The atmosphere is a mixture of excitement and dread as many people have to go back to their reality.
I had the honor of hosting guests for another weekend. This time, my brother and his girlfriend made the drive from their house in Florida. It's been nearly a full year since I've last seen them, and it was a terrific opportunity to catch up over drinks in Washington, D.C. They proved to be resilient, even when we made ourselves walk nearly the entire length of D.C. I wish I had taken more time off work to spend with my brother, but we made the best out of the time we had.
When you visit D.C., particularly in spring, many people will insist that you see the cherry blossoms. It's an impressive sight to see, but those trees never seem to bloom as scheduled. My roommate and I walked down to the tidal basin to see the trees supposedly in "peak bloom," and there was not even a single bud on any of the trees (this was in mid-March). Afterwards, it seemed like every week that past the "peak bloom" would be in just one more week.
I finally had the distinct honor to play tour guide in Washington, D.C. My parents decided to visit and I insisted that we see as much as possible. Their trip only allowed them to stay in D.C. for two days, but I was determined to fight the crowds and show them around town. Despite my best efforts, we didn't get to see nearly all the places I wanted to show them, but it was awesome to see some familiar faces again. Running around town that weekend also taught me the value of a good pair of tennis shoes. Figuring Out Where to Go
Your boss tells you that he needs 200 copies of that report in the next hour. Your coworker asks you to fill up the coffee pot and bring her a cup with a little sugar. The file cabinets that the office has ignored for years needs to be organized, and your boss still wants those damn copies. You have to admit it, you're an intern. People often associate interns with coffee mules, copy gurus, or the bottom of the ladder, which is correct in some cases.
For this blog post, I decided it would be fun to show you around my internship site. As you may know, I am working at Rock Creek Park developing programs and information about climate change. Rock Creek Park is part of the National Park Service, which is great because it's provided me some useful knowledge on how the National Parks are actually run. Since it's such a small agency compared to others, it really feels like a family. Everyone knows each other, even people who work at parks across the country. Starting Off The Day
This week was rather memorable. There were a number of different activities to attend throughout Washington, and I got to spend the day at the St. Patrick's Day Parade. The festivities were quite entertaining, but the parade had to be the longest running in human history. The cold March wind also made us extremely hungry, which forced us to explore the food options in the area. There were plenty of other opportunities this week that allowed me to explore around town. In fact, several events from my class and the internship allowed me to explore some parts of D.C. as well.
My twenty-first birthday happened to fall during the sixth week of the program. This allowed me to sample some of the nightlife and explore more of the city. Even though I was far away from home, my friends and family all sent packages and wished me well. It was also a chance to celebrate with some of the new friends I've made since I arrived. Before everyone pictures me as a sorry mess gripping the side of the toilet, let me assure you that my new friends are not that cruel! A Birthday in D.C.