Hard Times… And, DC’s Soft Side

Hard Times… And, DC’s Soft Side

First Week's Experiences

For those who have not participated in The Washington Center Program (TWC), imagine this situation.  You show up in D.C. from a far away state with the prospect of a great living, learning and interning experience. The first day of “said internship” comes around, and you set off to make a name for yourself in the nation’s capital.  But things are never as easy as they seem, as quickly becomes apparent as you are ushered into a boardroom filled with executives and prompted to sit at the head of the table. A grilling ensues, an intimidating man plays twenty questions with your cranium, and then you are told to write your best paper on some rather sensitive issues. After the frontal assault, it is decided that you apparently aren’t a virtuoso and so they take their initial internship offer off the table. Your severance package: nothing more than a small, white binder with loose paper. This was me—my first day on the job—bombarded by questions and confusing tests, paraded around the office, and then shown the door.

In sharing my story and its valuable lessons, I  won't give you my bio flat out; rather I will reveal myself through my adventures as this two-month story unfolds. What I will tell you upfront is that I have gained some notoriety as a risk taker...maybe that has something to do with my current situation…and sometimes risks come with consequences. You have to accept and work through those consequences, unless you’re the next ENRON. I decided to choose a non-TWC internship site for its closer political ties instead of the equally advantageous one that was provided to me through TWC.  Nonetheless, this truly was an absurd experience and an abrupt change of events even considering the calculated risk I took accepting this internship.


My less than fortunate experiences so far have not shaken my professional fortitude. In fact, they have made me stronger and more appreciative of the awesome staff at The Washington Center. Their advice and support is truly next to none, and I will remain their advocate as much as they remain mine.


This also serves as a great lead-in to my decided mission here at TWC.  I had a minor epiphany after being “shown the door” that will give me great pleasure hashing out through my experiences here in Washington D.C.


Epiphany and DC's Soft Side

My epiphany: In just a short matter of days I have been exposed to Washington’s real-life environment. I have dealt with cold, business isn’t personal, hard line office politics, and thrown a few fast balls.  Now, I think there has to be something else out there than the stereotypical view of D.C. as a highly professional, serious, and at some times solely career-oriented existence. So my goal is to show D.C.’s Soft Side. That’s right. I will make it my mission to find the warm and fuzzy, relaxed, charming, and life-loving side of our nation’s capital. I will prove to you that it’s out there and when you decide to intern in D.C. you can take advantage of, in a respectful and appreciative way, all of D.C.’s soft side.


For my first Soft Side entry I will stay local and keep it short. The neighborhood of Silver Spring, where my TWC living arrangement is located, is an up-and-coming neighborhood with unrealized potential. Its quieter, slightly removed location provides great material for the first of many weekly reports on Washington’s soft side. There are great places to walk and eat. Its best streets are home to quiet and quaint neighborhoods and ethnic food masterpieces. Now doesn’t that sound charming: a safe, culture rich area from which to soak in all of the great vibes? Yep, a little slice of D.C.’s soft side ladies and gentlemen.


Check out the picture of the richly ethnic platter I ordered for lunch and the quaint neighborhood I found in Silver Spring below.



Cheers for Now,

~ Cole M. Vance

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