Thank You, D.C.!
Ever since I could write, I've been writing thank you cards. I began with fill-in-the-blank style cards for people who gave me birthday presents because I could barely hold a pencil. Now I draw thank you cards for anything I feel like thanking someone for - whether that's writing me a letter of recommendation or simply having a nice chat with me in a hallway one day. There's a great City Year saying that I often tread back to, which is that "expressions of thanks are like pancakes, they need to be served right away" so while this is a bit delayed, I'm going to write up a bunch of expressions of thanks and serve them up hot right now. This past semester in Washington, D.C. has been a bright spot in a rather tough year for me. It is easy to write that off as the result of a change in location, the ability to visit countless museums and galleries, or even spending most of this semester at an internship instead of in a classroom. But what really made the difference for me was the people I met. These people taught me many things from how to make vegetarian gravy, to what the inside of a club looks like to the definition of "panjandrum." However, while the knowledge I've gained from all of them may vary widely, the knowledge I've gained from all of them has enriched my experience and contributed to my growth as a person - so for that, I am eternally grateful.
First and foremost: thank you to the Bees of Room 304!
These are not literal bees but a group of four ladies that befriended me this past semester. Between sharing food with me, letting me lounge around their room at all hours, and showing me how extroverts live life, I have learned so much from them and I appreciate all that they've done for me. I haven't lived in a college setting in ages because I lived at home during City Year and currently commute from home while attending Emerson College, but when I did live in one I was absolutely miserable. The Bees showed me that it can be a positive and supportive experience by helping me figure out some of my social issues at 2am and inviting me over to watch SNL together. Thank you Sammi for helping me pick out an outfit for that special occasion, thank you Naya for listening and dispensing advice super late at night, thank you Anna for the tour of NPR and the fun we had in our class together, and thank you Marion for being my first true college friend and for persuading me to apply to the Washington semester back in a food court in Boston after class one chilly day.
A pair of legwarmers I crocheted for Marion so that the Bees could
achieve their final form (as bees) for Halloween.
Next up - thank you to Professor Saunji Fyffe and my Nonprofit Leadership and Management Class.
Professor Fyffe is extremely knowledgeable, extremely helpful, and extremely kind. I am so lucky to have had her as my professor this semester. She brings so much experience to her position as a teacher and cares about and respects all of us students as individuals. She was even available when I emailed her in a confused flurry with a personal and professional (nonprofit related) dilemma with an incredibly thoughtful response that I was able to leverage to solve my problem. I also want to thank my class for contributing fascinating information to expand my knowledge of the nonprofits world, the friendships I've made, and the hilarious anecdotes that are still somehow related to nonprofits. I'm looking at you, Santa Story.
My nonprofits course is actually where someone recommended
visiting the National Portrait Gallery — which is now one of
my favorite museums/galleries in D.C.
Another thank you now for another group of classes: thank you to my LEAD instructor Christine Kovach, my LEAD class, and my Professional Track.
Christine brought us Dunkin' Donuts on our first day of class and candy on our last, so that's why she made this list. My appreciation for her has absolutely nothing to do with how efficient she is, how well she communicates and taught our class, the calm and positive energy she brought to class every Friday at 9am, or how supportive she is even after our time together. Absolutely nothing. My LEAD class was also pretty chipper for a bunch of college students awake at 9am on a Friday and brought some good humor and a willingness to power through together, which makes life so much easier for everyone. My Professional Track (International Affairs) peers were also great, helping me through trying to find the entrance to the U.S. Institute for Peace and visiting the Forced From Home exhibit together.
Drawings from the Forced From Home exhibit that my Professional Track sent me to.
Also, thank you to Kristen Olsen, TWC's Admissions Coordinator.
Thank you for dealing with my incessant emails about typos in these blog posts that I wanted corrected but somehow missed myself the first go-around. I'm an annoying writer to deal with and extremely nitpicky, so I appreciate Kristen's patience with me! I always felt confident in my blog posts and in my position as a TWC blogger knowing that she was there for me to communicate any and all issues. Her responses were always prompt and helpful, addressing my issues with positivity.
My first blog post drawing — which never would have existed if Kristen hadn't
encouraged me to draw in my blog posts.
Another TWC-related group of people who deserve many thanks are the concierge and security desk staff.
Thank you for all of the morning greetings, waves, and help! I never had a problem checking guests in or out, picking up packages, or finding any sort of assistance I might need. I also always felt safe and welcome, which can be tough if you're working that 1am shift. I appreciate all of you!
This would not have been possible if not for the TWC concierge helping me with the door
the day I had to carry all of my groceries back without a backpack.
Some miscellaneous folks that still deserve a thank you - thank you to the volunteer coordinators of D.C. Scores!, the staff members and volunteers at the many museums I visited, and the many Uber drivers that helped me get where I needed to go !
Thank you to D.C. SCORES! for a fantastic, well-organized, and memorable volunteer experience. Thank you to the staff members and volunteers at all of the museums and galleries I visited this semester - the Newseum, the National Museum of the Marine Corps, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the National Postal Museum, the Renwick Gallery, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Special shout-out here to my friend Kat who I worked with at the Boston Children's Museum two years ago and hadn't seen until I ran into her at the National Museum of American History on 9/11. And, of course, thank you to my many Uber drivers for getting my friends, my mother, and me everywhere we needed to go in a timely fashion. Also, thank you Uber drivers for some great conversations, especially that one conversation about where I can find Chinese food and ingredients (H-Mart in Virginia)
The National Museum of American History celebrating the holidays.
Of course, this list wouldn't be complete without a huge thank you the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission.
The most obvious thank you I have for the WWICC is for taking me on as an intern - so thank you for that. However, I also appreciated all of you working at the WWICC for being inclusive and respectful of us interns and providing us with plentiful amounts of candy! Everyone at the WWICC was patient, trusting, and responsible, which made working there a fantastic experience. The WWICC provided me meaningful work that helped me grow professionally and I felt like I contributed to their important work as well. The office always felt like an office, but it simultaneously felt like a testing ground for interns - a safe, supportive place where we could explore and make mistakes as long as we learned from them and fixed them up. I especially want to thank my supervisor Andrew McGreal for ultimately being the one to offer me the internship position, for providing me with challenging assignments that I could learn from, and for allowing me to be myself around the workplace, weird drawings and all. My internship would not have been nearly as delightful without him.
Pumpkin carving at the WWICC with fellow interns Josh and Jill!
Lastly, thank you to the best friend I stumbled into here.
Thank you, friend, for the bizarre nicknames and long strings of puns. I appreciate all the times we walked around D.C. together, even when it was freezing cold by Bostonian standards, and all of the museums we visited together. I appreciate your willingness to talk exhibit design and historiography with me, the many good meals we shared, and the colorful drawings you sent me no matter how nonsensical. I appreciate your wit, your vocabulary, your curiosity, your goofiness, and your patience. People have always told me that being "different" is a good thing but I don't think I've fully realized just how good of a thing it is until now. You were my favorite part of this entire experience. Thank you, nerd, from the bottom of my cold and weirdly cat-like heart. I don't know how you put up with me, but I'm grateful that you did and continue to.
A sculpture at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a place I went with my pal.
Finally, thank you if you're reading this! Thank you, readers.
I know there probably aren't many of you - maybe five people from Facebook and my parents? - but I appreciate your readership and support! Your positive texts and comments about my writing always made me smile. I'm not saying that I need positive reinforcement and encouragement and attention to feel good about my writing, but... it's not a bad thing.
So this is me, saying goodbye and thank you one last time.
Until we meet again,