The Take-Away...To Find Oneself

The Take-Away...To Find Oneself

In my concluding entry, I want to atempt to get to the heart of why living and working in Washington D.C., even just for the summer, can be so important. We are all searching for who we are—an identity to be shaped—and this city has the capabilities to mold an individual.

 

I recently traveled from D.C. to New York. Everything is so synced and connected in our modern world, but the eastern seaboard takes the cake. The short hop to the city for a weekend was the perfect parallel to Washington, D.C. that I needed in order to make some deep observations and realize some important questions. Why do we go to the city? What do we seek? And what impact does it have on us…how do we change? Some of these questions are too deep to answer in a summer, but what I can say is that I have seen some of the change I am referring to in myself this summer.

 

Two facets of D.C. strike me as reasons on their own to make my time here worthwhile. First, it has a talent for making you grow up. Second, there is a real focus on activism and non-profit work. While some participation may be simply for career-building purposes, it is still work by others for others.

 

The Washington Center’s ideal of experiential learning goes a long way to physically proving point number one. I learned more about what I want to do and what I find important this summer than I ever could have imagined. I have always been driven and confident, but my studies with TWC and my internship have launched me to new heights. I ended up interning with a marketing firm, and this has given me the insight to pursue the private service sector. I have also become more passionate about certain issues, such as bipartisanship and veterans affairs. I will take these values and lessons and use them to pursue a fulfilling personal and professional life.

 

 

In a way, The Washington Center has also been instrumental in the choice of my second point. My Veterans Affairs Civic Engagement Project has been a very enriching experience. My eyes have been open to the major issues facing our veterans today and the call for action. I had the opportunity to sit in on two very critical veterans’ organizations—Battle Buddies and Student Veterans of America— that convinced me that Washington’s philanthropic focus is strong. If you feel passionate about service and possibly working for a non-profit, D.C. is the place for you.

 

Advice

The last of my anecdotes before I end with a summary of my Soft-Side entries is some advice: don’t get caught up in either what D.C. can do for you (don’t simply be a taker) and, also, don’t be solely a giver (this city has a mean set of teeth that will devour excessive vulnerability in one mighty shred). It’s a beautiful city, and there’s a place for everyone in it if they want to be here. But, like I said, it’s a place of knowing who you are and what you are made of.  That’s how you succeed in D.C. If that jives with you, than I see a match made in heaven. I can fully understand now why the Washington Center exists: D.C. is the perfectly holistic, professionally minded and driven city. Students get a full-fledged career launching experience that I do not believe any other city could offer quite as uniquely.

 

Fellow TWC Students Outside the White House

 

Soft-Side

In my first blog entry, I talked about my decided quest of finding D.C.’s Soft-Side: the war and fuzzy, less career focused, relaxed and fun parts and qualities of the city. This quest was inspired from my internship mishaps and has lead me to cover topics such as the bike friendliness of the city, to the great food, and further, to the great Georgetown area. Life is more fun when you can appreciate its Soft-Side. I certainly had fun doing it, and I hope it serves as inspiration for others to try it too.

 

It’s Been a Pleasure,

Cole M. Vance

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