Of Stages and Sovereignty

Of Stages and Sovereignty

Alright, gang, we’re taking a different approach this week. I’m going to be talking about my internship a lot more and other events a lot less... because my week was shaped by the former and I figure you all might be interested in hearing the story of the festival that I helped set up. So buckle up, faithful readers, and get ready to dive in!


I worked four shifts clocking in at least ten hours between Monday and Friday this week, only taking Tuesday off to deal with some kind of illness brought on by being dehydrated, exerted, and out in the heat on Monday. While much of my time at my internship up to this point had been spent doing odd jobs, this was the crunch time that I had been told to prepare for from the beginning. But despite my intense regimen of contemplation and meditation, I was floored on Monday by the challenges that awaited me.


To put it bluntly, I, along with a fellow intern, had been put in charge of getting a festival for child artists from all over the world set up in a day. This included arranging parking for our contractors, supervising their unloading and equipment setup, coordinating our volunteers, and making sure that we were following the rules and regulations of the National Park Service, the Washington, D.C. police, and the Secret Service.


“Why the Secret Service?”




Well, patient reader, this festival was situated on the park, called the Ellipse, between the White House and the Washington Monument. So I got plenty of shots of both sights, but we also had to tread very carefully lest our festival be shut down. Things were going hectically on Monday, but we miraculously pulled it off, leaving the next three days to manage the festival and handle problems as they arose. Most were small ones, but by midweek, it became clear that we had a serious trash problem, as our organization had not hired anyone to pick it up. By Friday, this mounted into a veritable mountain of trash (almost 150 cubic feet of trash by my measurements) that had to be spirited away by one of our contractors after a hasty payment.


But we survived the grueling week, the trial by fire, the Augean stables of the summer. And I promptly slept sixteen hours as soon as I got back to my bed.


Ryan’s Recs

Folks, you have to advocate for yourself. This week, I lugged four-hundred-pound pieces of tarp, ran around like a headless chicken, and mended tensions between workers and park rangers. But no matter how much you do for other people you have to look out for yourself. Sometimes that meant taking a sick day (on Tuesday because I was throwing up due to “sun poisoning”" and sometimes it meant taking myself to Chipotle for the second and third times in my life later in the week for lunch. No matter how you do it, you have to remember to look out for yourself. You have to put yourself first because you know your limits better than anyone else and if you don’t speak up, who will?



On that note, your coworkers can be some of the most valuable people you meet in the city. Not only can they can help you with your work, as undoubtedly happened this week, but they can also brighten your spirits and replenish your reserves. Getting to spend time with my coworkers out in that field this week was a wonderful experience, and I only wish that I had gotten to know them all sooner. Don’t make my mistakes, friends!



Well, until next time true believers: clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

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