D.C. Reflections

D.C. Reflections

It is hard to describe my Washington, D.C. experience in words. I have seen and done so many cool things. I have also made many new friends. It was interesting to participate in a program and have an internship at the same time. The Washington Center prides itself on their three pillars: Academic and Professional Achievement, Civic Engagement, and Leadership. They want a person to get the full experience of Washington, D.C. and an internship. They strive to give you more than the typical nine-to-five internship. I am not saying that anything is wrong with the typical internship, just stating how The Washington Center is unique.

For me, I feel I definitely developed academically and professionally. I thoroughly enjoyed my class From Ideas to Action: The Anatomy of Entrepreneurship. Professor Johnetta Hardy taught it and she gave us some great advice throughout the summer. I really liked how we did some hands on work intertwined with the book. One of our first assignments in class was to create a life plan. This is basically a plan that outlines your life if a person wanted to start a business tomorrow. Everyone has great ideas that he or she thinks of, but few of them get put down on paper. I am really bad about doing this, so I was glad that this forced me to put it down on paper. It also helped me narrow down what I like and dislike in a business sense. Another thing it helped me narrow down is what type of work environment I would like my job to be in.  Since this is so important when you are looking for a job, I was glad I finally narrowed it down and put it on paper. This was just the beginning of my academic development. Professor Hardy also talked to the class about creating a business plan for our business. The class divided into groups and produced a business plan tailored to the product or service we were providing. We also got to hear two speakers talk about different aspects of entrepreneurship. George Dines from GBD Capital Group came and spoke to the class about the financial aspects of starting your own business.  The class also visited The Park at Fourteenth and heard the owner, Marc Barnes, speak on his experiences as an entrepreneur. I am taking all the knowledge I gained from class and these people when my group pursues our business outside of class.

I also developed professionally throughout the summer. It started with my internship and my Individual Development Plan (IDP). A person cannot help but learn more about specific issues when he or she works for a United States Senator. This is especially the case when he or she works in the mail room for that Senator and comes into contact with multiple issues in one day. Through my internship, I was able to accomplish a modified version of my Individual Development Plan. Instead of learning a lot about one issue, I learned a little about many issues. This helped me to become a more rounded employee at my internship site. In the end, I was able to meet a better goal than the one I set in the beginning of the summer. I also developed professionally by attending technology-related networking events (which I wrote about previously). I am usually not the type of person to just walk up and talk to people. My goal and purpose of going to these events was to meet as many people as possible and to gain some strategic contacts that I could use in the future. I achieved my goal with great success and met some really cool people. I always like hearing about what other peoples’ passions are and how they are working toward them.

Leadership is always an interesting topic of discussion. Some people are born with it while some grow into it through their personality or deeds. Some leaders are well known, while others are leaders behind the scenes. I strive to be a leader in all aspects of my life. One key example of this is my strong work ethic I portray in my everyday life. Only two percent of Boy Scouts become Eagle Scouts. I was not only in this two percent, but also the only one in my graduating class to obtain this rank. Another more recent example, is the amount of time and devotion I put forth for my grades at college. I have had a 3.4 grade point average or above every semester I have been there. The Washington Center has helped me smooth out the edges of my leadership experience and become a more rounded person. Civic Engagement has allowed me to become more knowledgeable about animal welfare issues. I chose the Animal Welfare project because I love animals and I wanted to learn more about the problems they face. This is yet another thing I can strive to be a leader in. I mentioned earlier that my group from class is pursuing the business idea that we did in class as a legitimate business. In this time, I will need my hard work ethic so that I am able to devote the right amount of time and effort to the business. I will also need to be disciplined and use great time management skills so that I am able to balance the business, my school work, and my social life.

Washington, D.C. is a great city. Since it is the nation’s capital, there are endless things to do in the city. You can see a variety of monuments; visit the largest collection of cool and interesting objects through the many Smithsonian museums; witness history being made in various government buildings. I think it is cool that you can wake up in Washington, D.C., then take the train to Baltimore or Silver Spring, then eat in Alexandria, Virginia that night. Only in Washington, D.C., can you get the feeling of home by working for your home state Senator or Representative while also getting to meet people from all walks of life and all from all across the country.


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