The Recipe for Friendship

The Recipe for Friendship

Gabriella Montez from "High School Musical" once said, “Do you remember in kindergarten how you'd meet a kid and know nothing about them, then 10 seconds later you're playing like you're best friends, because you didn't have to be anything but yourself?”


To my surprise, I’ve made some of the greatest friends I’ve ever known in only two weeks at The Washington Center, and it’s because I stepped out of my comfort zone. As an introvert, the thought of coming to Washington D.C. without knowing a single person was one of the most terrifying thoughts of my life. It usually takes me a while to make a connection with someone, let alone develop close friendships; however, before arriving in D.C. I decided it was time to turn a new leaf and put myself out there. Little did I know that in just a handful of days, I would have some amazing adventures with great newfound friends.


Friends at the Smithsonian National Zoo

New friends


On my 14-hour drive from Florida to D.C., many thoughts ran through my head. I was excited to intern for an international non-profit organization and hopefully have an epiphany as to what I want to do after graduation. I was nervous to move from the comfort of my quiet suburban Florida home to the bustling urban city of Washington D.C. I was afraid that I would experience the monuments, museums, and culture of D.C. alone.


I’m not going to lie, making friends is extremely hard. It entails multiple awkward small-talk conversations with strangers about what school they go to and where they’re interning for the summer. Comparatively, it’s like going on a first date or to an uncomfortable networking event without knowing anyone (both of which I have done since arriving in the nation's capital). Being in a new location surrounded by hundreds of students you don’t know can be intimidating, but as cliché as it sounds, the best advice I can possibly give is to just be yourself.


My first few days in D.C., I introduced myself to everyone that I met, in the elevators, hallways, classes, and special events put on by The Washington Center. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t able to find that special group right away! Keep putting yourself out there, meeting new people, and taking advantage of every opportunity D.C. has to offer. It paid off for me and it will for you too!


Someone recently asked me what my favorite part of D.C. has been so far. The answer came to me immediately: the people I’ve met. I’ve had some incredible experiences so far, including: going to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, attending the Chance the Rapper concert in Baltimore, paddle boating in the Tidal Basin, staying up all night to watch the sunrise from the Lincoln Memorial, and playing football on the Capitol lawn to name a few. I would never have had any of these great memories without the friends I’ve made.


Paddle Boating in Tidal Basin

Paddle boating in the Tidal Basin


Attempting to spell "TWC" with our feet at the Washington Monument

Taking a break (feet up!) at the Washington Monument


I am incredibly blessed to spend the summer in our nation’s capital alongside, what have now become, lifelong friends. Just like kindergarten, it seems like these past few weeks have gone by in only 10 seconds, but I’m looking forward to the new adventures, memories, and friends that this summer has in store.


Ciao for now,

Emily Pingleton


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