Understanding the Strength of Words

Understanding the Strength of Words

After completing a nice Saturday morning workout downstairs in our tiny gym, I was about to head back upstairs to get ready for a coffee date with a TWC alum, Tatiana Van Campenhout, when all of a sudden I bumped into the one and only, Nate the Great. Now, you should know that I rarely ever see Nate due to the hectic nature of my internship, course load and time that I spend with friends. The last time I saw Nate was when he kindly fixed almost every single light in our apartment towards the beginning of the semester.


"NATE!!!" I exclaimed, throwing my hands up. "Long time no see, my man!"

"Ehhhhh, look who it is! My girl, how's it going?!" he replied with the big Nate grin I recollect from our first few encounters.


Although he was headed out for the day, he insisted that he wanted to stay and chat. I enjoy that Nate is a talker, like myself, who does not mind spending a few extra minutes of his day catching up.


Although I could have started off this blog post talking about the many other highlights and events throughout my week; I wanted to share with you one of the most unforgettable conversations I have had thus far in DC:


As Nate and I stood outside the elevator and talked for about a half hour, we exchanged some fun and memorable stories. Nate told me about a few of his many travels, including his favorite one to Alaska with his wife and in return, I told Nate a story of when I sat for hours enjoying coffee and conversation with an older bus transportation worker this past summer in the Times Square bus station.


We laughed and enjoyed each other's company, as always, upon which Nate stopped me and said, "You know what, Rebecca? I want to tell you something." I nodded and said, "Of course!"


"Stay the way you are and don't let that change," he said. "I have a few students like you every semester, but only a few: the ones who actually talk to me, acknowledge me, and do more than merely respond to my simple greetings," he continued. "Now is your time to find out who you are; to figure out what you want in life, whether that be in your relationships, your travels, your desires, your mannerisms or your future job. NOW is the time that you must figure these things out and do not let anyone change your mindset or your goals."


I nodded. Smiling and knowing that Nate, a fellow rambler, was not about to stop there.


"But you know what?" he added. "I'm almost certain that you've figured out who you are. You are a good kid, Rebecca. Stay that way and don't ever let anyone change you."


I am certain that even the most exciting parts of my week could not top the simple words that Nate said to me on this past Saturday morning. For me, this week was eye-opening in many ways. Last Sunday, I went for the first lengthy and enjoyable run that I have taken in quite some time. A beautiful DC day, and simply breath-taking scenery to run past, made for the perfect way to de-stress and relax before starting off my week.



On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to work at an event called "Tech Prom," hosted by a PR firm called the Curley Company at the beautiful DC Convention Center. This was a networking opportunity for St. Lawrence University students such as myself due to the Curley Company Account Supervisor, Elizabeth Shaffer, being a St. Lawrence alumna. The DC Convention Center is a beautiful facility and through this event, I grasped what was a seemingly consistent theme of my week: the true strength of words and acknowledgement.



At this event, I was placed in the position to greet guests at the top of the elevator and direct them to the coat room as well as the registration table. After four hours of smiling, waving my arms right and left, and welcoming very special guests to the event, I concluded the night with one important realization: The nicest individuals I met all evening were not the Google or Amazon creators, the head news correspondents of various networks, or the countless other guests who not once acknowledged my existence, or responded to my greeting in any way, shape, or form. Who were the individuals who put a real smile on my face that night, and actually stopped to talk to me? The janitors. The chefs. The maintenance crew.


Similar to the friendship that I have formed with Nate the Great; it was eye-opening to me to grasp the perception of higher status that certain individuals believe they embody over others leading them to an inability to maintain proper manners in various scenarios. Now, I want to note that I did not by any means walk away from this event upset or regretting that I was in attendance, rather, I truly enjoyed meeting some St. Lawrence alumni as well as other employees at the Curley Company and more importantly, enjoyed the opportunity I had to encounter a situation in which I truly experienced the strength behind just a few words of acknowledgement.


In other news this week, Bex decided to surprise her fellow employees at the March staff meeting by experimenting with a new recipe: Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal Walnut Breakfast Cookies. Knowing that those I work with love their sweet treats perhaps more than they look forward to the highly exciting monthly staff meetings, I definitely anticipated the result of my supervisor eating 6 cookies in just one sitting. The feeling of making people happy and acknowledging how thankful I am to work with such kind, personable, and knowledgeable members of the Library of Congress was definitely a great turnaround from my event at the DC Convention Center.



Lastly, there was no better way to tie up the work week than to satisfy a desperate chicken wing craving with my wing woman, Allison, at TD Burger on Thursday night.



It was yet another great week in DC full of fun, friends, and lessons. But before I sign off for the week, I want you to promise me one thing: The next time you stand next to that same woman in the fur coat on your metro ride to work, or see that maintenance guy who cleans up after you at internship site or even pass by your front desk friends at the entrance of TWC whom I guarantee you walk by every morning and night without batting an eyelash....promise me that you will acknowledge them. Ask them how they are doing or at the least, say "Good morning." But do not ignore them.


Make it a memorable (and tad bit warmer) week, friends!



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