Of Classes and Conventions

Of Classes and Conventions

Welcome, welcome, welcome!  Week four of my time in Washington, D.C. with The Washington Center has gone by and I guess you’re all eager to hear the juicy details. Well, by all means, read on and I shall indulge you.


This week my mouth ran almost nonstop, in the best way possible. Every Tuesday I have my class, U.S. Foreign Policy. There I get to enjoy three hours of discussion on American diplomacy, exploring the larger, broad strokes of the Hamiltonian, Wilsonian, Jeffersonian, and Jacksonian schools of thought. On top of that, though, we get to explore narrower topics, whether they be rooted in history or in more recent developments. Comparing the foreign policy planks of the 2016 field to those four historic ideas of America’s role in the world was a discussion I will not soon forget.


But my learning was not limited to the classroom! Oh no, faithful reader! Rather I was able to expand my knowledge base outside of the hallowed halls of learning and out into the real world. For starters, I was privileged enough to be invited to attend convention for the Young Americans for Liberty, offering three days of food, lodging, and speakers. Honestly, they had me at food, but the intellectual simulation that comes with listening to the thoughts and words of not only those further along in life, but also those fellow students who have come from all over the country to share their ideas and network. I guess what I’m saying is this: if I don’t hand out at least one business card there, I’m going to be furious with myself, true believer.



But that particular convention is far off in the future. But have no fear, the waiting will not be bleak. Why just this past Wednesday I got to partake in something called “Conversations and Cocktails” at the McCain Institute. Don’t worry, mom, I didn’t do any of the latter. But I did partake in the former and had a wonderful time. I met with the head of Freedom House, talked with several interns, and enjoyed free tacos. My biggest takeaway though was from a wonderful conversation with a couple that I told of my deep admiration of Estonia. Immediately, I receive a suggestion of a lobbying firm, the Joint Baltic-American National Council, which not only deals in my particular area of interest, but also is very open to hiring interested interns. Why, that sounds like me, doesn’t it?



This week provided a wonderful slice of what a single week can offer. Knowledge comes in all sorts of forms, from professors to peers and from textbooks to tacos. The answers are there, if you look for them, to all of those burning questions: what do I want to do with my life, what do I need to know to get where I’m going, and how many tacos are we allowed to take anyway?


Ryan’s Recs


Alright, this one seems pretty basic, but make sure you get a handle on your cleaning. This week no one wanted to do dishes so we had a sink full of bowls and silverware and everyone washed just what they needed, used it, and then put it back. This might work for a bit, but when someone’s parents come over to visit as they did this weekend, it becomes a mad scramble to tidy up. Luckily, we avoided any lecturing or visible disgust, but we came close! Don’t be like us.


Finally, using your phone for directions is pretty commonplace, but relying on an internet connection can be a little hectic, especially when you’re running short on time. So instead of relying on maps on the fly, plan ahead. If you know where you want to go, get the directions on your phone the night before and take screenshots. Not only will this save you from the stress of waiting for a connection and burning up data on public transportation, but looking at photos on your phone takes up less battery power, lengthening the lifespan of your mobile device.


Well, that’s all folks, until next time, remember that breakfast is still the most important meal of the day.

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

Learn More