"This is one group that needs no luck at all."

"This is one group that needs no luck at all."

That is what one of the two student speakers, Jocelyn McCown, said to the crowd as she addressed us at The Washington Center Commencement on Monday. It's our final Monday in Washington as part of the program, and it's weird... I don't know whether to be happy or sad... excited or nervous. So I'm actually just all of those things at once! It was a good experience to sit through commencement, though. We got to hear from some notable people and even our peers. It was a last moment of inspiration as we head into our last week in D.C.

 

My roomies and I after commencement.

My roommates and I celebrate our last Monday at TWC!

 

Building Muscle

Nancy Jacobson, Political Organization Consultant and co-founder of No Labels, addressed the 400 interns in the room, reminding us of how important our time in D.C. was and how we should take what we learned to "build muscle" for ourselves to strengthen our future possibilities. She told us that these days when she hires people for her company, she doesn't even consider them unless they have experience in Washington. And did you know that Bill Gates, Anderson Cooper, Conan O'Brien, Roger Goodell, and Brian Williams all interned in Washington before becoming the big shots they are today? Pretty impressive, huh?

 

She ended by asking us to reflect on a few things from our experiences in working offices. I liked the first question she asked, because I really did think about the answer and used it to reflect on my time in D.C. She asked us to think about who in our organization we admired and why (I admire Dr. Stanton and will use my experiences with him as inspiration for my future work, so much so that I'll blog more about that in the upcoming week!).

 

I Think They Already Built Muscle...

A great thing about TWC is that the program really recognizes students who excel. At commencement, they gave awards to students who went above and beyond in each of the three pillars of the program: Academic and Professional Development, Leadership, and Civic Engagement (one student in a TWC project and one in a self-guided project). Now, I'm about to have a mom moment... I'm super proud of my fellow Monmouth Hawk Anthony D'Elia for being awarded the Leadership Pillar award! It was funny because the announcer started speaking about the recipient being a member of the C-SPAN class and my roommates and I were like "wouldn't it be funny if it was Anthony!?" And then the announcer called out the name Chris D'Elia. We were... SO confused.. was there a Chris D'Elia?! Turns out he said the wrong name and he called up Anthony, the rightful winner. Of course, we cheered and Miriam and I may have screamed "Go Tony!" a few times!

 

Monmouth students post-commencement

Some Monmouth students showing off our pride and joy -

Leadership Pillar award winner, Anthony D'Elia!

 

Inspiration from TWC's Finest

I think the best part about commencement was getting to hear from some of our very peers selected to speak at the ceremony. Jocelyn gave a great speech that basically summarized the life of a typical intern and inspired us to make the most of what we learned this semester. Then Harini Swaminathan addressed the group and told us about her first moments in D.C., having traveled 5,200 miles from India to get here. It was cool to hear the perspective of an international student, but she also did a great job tying us all together as TWC-ers and congratulating us all. But, as great as those girls were, my favorite part was a slam poetry session in which my fellow Monmouth peer read off a piece he wrote about his experience. It was... amazing. I'm great friends with Brad, but I've never seen him do that before and I was beyond impressed! He really caught our experience in his deep words. When he finished, he had a good number of people applauding him with standing ovation - that's how compelling it was! Check it out:

 

This is just a portion of Brad's performance.

 

So now that Commencement is over and we're preparing to move on to the next steps in our lives - whether it be finishing undergraduate work, finding jobs, moving on to grad or law school, whatever it is - I keep thinking how much I've grown and changed this semester. This post hasn't been too sappy yet, so I'll leave it that way... I did write a speech to audition for commencement speaker, and I think it caps off my experience at TWC and goes through all of that sappy "Hey, my whole life is different now!" stuff, so I'll be posting that soon... stay tuned! For now, I leave you with this final thought...

 

Commencement (Friends Forever) - By Vitamin C

A good ol' graduation classic... brings me back to my Middle School days! Enjoy everyone :)

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