First Week

First Week

I arrived in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May 29 and today is Tuesday, June 4 so tomorrow I will have been here for a week! In that time I have already taken the wrong Metro, gone shopping and out to dinner in Georgetown, gone shopping in Friendship Heights, checked out the nightlife in Glover Park, visited the Kreeger museum, visited the Newseum, started my internship, moved into my housing, moved out of that housing and into different housing, and caught up with an old friend who is also living in D.C. this summer. It has been quite a busy week.


On the morning of June 29th, TWC (The Washington Center) orientation began with a speech by Michael Smith. Mr. Smith is the president of TWC. During his speech he spoke of how exciting it is for us to be here, the opportunities this program will afford us after graduation, and how we will meet many challenges and that we must face them head on.


The idea of unforeseen challenges frightens me. It's like a monster in a scary movie -- you know it's coming but you don't know how or when so there is no way to prepare. My first challenge came earlier than expected; it happened two days after orientation when I moved into my summer apartment.


I am not staying in TWC housing because it is too far away from my internship. I am living in GWU (George Washington University) graduate housing at HOVA (Hall on Virginia Avenue) in Foggy Bottom. In case anyone is wondering though, I have been inside one of the apartments at the NoMA (North of Massachusetts Avenue) TWC facility and it was immaculate; I am very jealous of the students who get to live there.


Before I arrived at my housing facility I had seen some pictures online of what the lobby looked like...


Hova Lobby


So it's not a five star hotel, but it's not too shabby, right? Wrong. It's shabby and dingy and dusty and it kind of smells weird. I rode the elevator up to my floor and discovered that my room was absolutely horrible. It was far worse than the lobby. There were gum stains on the carpet, bugs in the sink, and the door to the balcony was open (and broken) so the room was 80 degrees. It was unlivable.


Immediately, I came to the conclusion that I would not be living in this room. I called the GW housing facility and fought with them for about an hour. They would not give me a refund (which I still think is outrageous -- they agreed to provide certain services in exchange for my money, they did not provide these services, therefore, I should be refunded payment) but finally they agreed to switch my room.


The new room is so much better. It's nicer and it's actually clean and the air conditioning works. All-in-all, HOVA is growing on me. So I conquered my first challenge and that's great. If I can give any incoming TWC students advice based on this ordeal it's this: Live in TWC housing; it's really nice and clean. If your internship is simply too far away like mine is (mine is in Alexandria, Virginia so the commute would have been well over an hour) or you have a lot of friends in the Bethesda/Potomac area that you want to be close to or something of that nature, do not use the GW housing system. Sublet on M 2400 or the Savoy or the Winston (all in Foggy Bottom). American University and Georgetown have summer housing as well. If you do decide to use GW housing (I know some people have had positive experiences) sign up AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. All the good rooms get taken really early in the year, if you wait till April like I did, you'll end up in a dump. And of course, most importantly -- face your challenges and don't give up.

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