Balancing Act

Balancing Act

Living in a new city is great because things that usually would seem mundane are suddenly exciting. I love waking up in the morning because each day at my internship involves new work; I don't stay on one project for more than two or three days. I enjoy the walk to the metro station, because the tree lined sidewalks are unfamiliar and the faces all seem fresh. The same goes for the walk to my office. A mile walk in the heat sounds awful, but the streets of Alexandria, Virginia are some of the oldest in the country. The sidewalks are brick, the storefronts are quaint, and the town's charm always leaves me smiling. Essentially, despite having been here for almost a month, I still feel like tourist.

 

Multicolored townhouses in Foggy Bottom. I pass these on my way to the Metro. They are lovely to look at!

 

A Church in old town Alexandria. Everything is made of brick here, even the sidewalks!

There is so much to do here. I have been to a plethora of D.C. tourist spots, and my favorite thing I have done thus far is visit the Mansion on O street. The Mansion on O street is a museum/boutique hotel with over 30 secret passages and 60 rooms. Each room has its own theme and is decorated with bizarre knick knacks, creating kind of a magical, wonderland effect. Another bonus is that everything in every room is for sale.

 

One of the many themed dining rooms in Mansion on O street.

Because D.C. has so much to offer it can be a little overwhelming. It is hard to fully appreciate D.C. when it is so easy to become stuck in your routine as an intern. I won't lie, this summer I have been inundated with work. In addition to your internship, you are creating a portfolio, which is comprised of various professional goals and assets such as an updated resume and a professional development plan; participating in a civic engagement project (which is really, really cool!), in which you choose an issue you are passionate about and work with a group to make a difference (I chose homelessness); and you are also taking a class -- and these classes are not jokes, you have homework. Additionally, unless you are living in RAF at NoMa and your internship is very near RAF at NoMa you will spend a significant amount of time on the Metro. The point I'm trying to make is that it can be hard to keep up with all this, and not just go home every day, take a shower, put your head on your pillow, and sleep until the next morning. But forcing yourself to go out and explore is SO WORTH IT. It is important, I think, to not just experience D.C. through the eyes of TWC, but also to make it your own city. To do that, you have to dedicate time to exploring on your own.

Despite how tiresome it may be at times to keep up with all your work, each part of the program is essential. The class, portfolio and civic engagement project are not superfluous -- they are enriching. The portfolio assignments I have completed so far have helped me define my professional goals. In interviews I will have an easier time articulating my goals, and I can more confidently look for jobs I know will suit my needs. Portfolio assignments are also helpful because they ensure I have a polished resume and cover letter. The civic engagement project I am involved in is extremely rewarding. I chose to participate in a project designed to help the homeless. The civic engagement project really deserves its own post, so I will hold off on discussing it for now. The class I am in is interesting, and it is so nice knowing I am receiving school credit for my time here.

Back to the point I am trying to make -- you won't have a ton of free time, and there are nights when you may feel like staying in and sleeping -- but I strongly advise you not to do this. Every chance you get, you should go out and explore D.C., because it has so much to offer you, beyond the boundaries of your internship and classes.

So if you're reading this, I hope you come to D.C., ready to tackle all of your responsibilities and ready to explore the city and make it your own!

Till next time,

Sara

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