Looking Back and Moving Forward, Part 2

Looking Back and Moving Forward, Part 2

In the first part of this post, I discussed how my academic and professional experience complemented each other. In this follow-up, I will talk about how my civic engagement project fits into the bigger picture. I chose to do the independent civic engagement assignment, originally intending to work with reproductive justice issues. However, after watching the documentary "The Invisible War" and following the status of the Military Justice Improvement Act in the U.S. Senate, my roommate and I decided to work on a project to increase awareness of the alarmingly high rates of sexual assault in the U.S. military. There currently two bills in the Senate aiming to address the issue, but it has received limited public attention.

We worked to both expand our own knowledge of the context of the issue and then translate our findings to an audience. My academic course on issue advocacy campaigning stressed the importance of effective communication, something we employed to communicate an issue many have not encountered. My internship taught me the importance of presentation, something crucial to the success of our final project. It also brought us to the Capital Fringe Festival, where we met individuals who aspire to seek change through art. Their unique form of civic engagement was inspirational and proof that a little imagination is key in making an impact.

Although it may not sound like it, I also had a life outside school/work/civic engagement. If I can do it, you certainly can too. D.C. may not be the cheapest place to live, but there was rarely a day without some free event. I detailed most of these in previous posts, so I will refrain from repeating myself, but this summer would be nothing without D.C.'s liveliness. Being in the center of all the action is an indescribable feeling, yet it is present throughout the city, and it is something I will miss the most. It never really got old turning a corner and seeing the Capitol building just down the road.

It remains to be seen how my experience in D.C. will affect my upcoming semester at Tulane, but I have no doubt that it will change how I approach the rest of my time in college. I have a much clearer idea of what I want out of my future career and where I want to be. I am still a strong believer that meticulously planning your future is often an exercise made in vain, but it is empowering to know the general direction I am heading.  It is hard to accurately put into words everything that I have gained from this summer but I know I will take it with me wherever I go. My summer at The Washington Center is sure to be one of the highlights of my college years. Until next time, D.C.


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