So Long For Now

So Long For Now

It’s been a week out of Washington, D.C. now and although I had an incredible last weekend in D.C. that already has me missing the city, it’s just as nice to be home. Between being busy and being far away, I didn’t realize just how much I was missing my friends and family until I saw them again. After finishing up exams, I even got to take off a few days to do nothing but relax, which I probably haven’t done since before I left.

 

U.S. Capitol

Me and my friend on one last nighttime adventure by the Capitol!

 

The time off has given me a lot of time for thinking back on my time in D.C., and I’ve started to recognize just how much pressure I was putting myself under. There’s a difference between pressure and goals, and my well-intentioned desire to achieve sometimes ended up with me stressing about things far from my control.


One of those stressors I had to overcome when coming home was actually making the decision to come home. Early on, I toyed with the idea of staying in D.C. for a second semester. Going back to Toledo felt like admitting that I didn’t have what it took to stay in D.C., with all of the fast-paced action and the demanding schedule.

 

That push to stay in D.C. almost led me to make mistakes, like considering jobs or internships that I never would have been happy in just to physically stay in D.C. for another few months. In reality, staying in D.C. wasn’t what I needed at the time. Although there are a lot of incredible opportunities in the city, what I needed was to come home and re-center before the next three years come.


Now that I’m home, I’m starting a full-time job Monday, and I’ve been able to go back to training in jiu-jitsu, something I missed while I was in D.C. I got to meet up with friends, celebrate a birthday, and go apartment shopping. For the moment, at least, I’m where I belong.

 

Almost symbolically, one of my long-time goals also came true almost as soon as I arrived home. Less than a week after arriving back home, I received two law school acceptance letters. It was like watching my future fall into place all at once when for the last few months, it has felt so uncertain. If you read my past blog posts, you’ll know that I spent a lot of time in D.C. wondering what the best path forward was, and looking for the answer. Now, being home, I finally have it.


If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be this: learn what the difference between embracing a challenge and forcing an experience feels like. Sometimes, I needed to do hard and uncomfortable things at The Washington Center, and they were things I would have preferred not to do, like networking or studying or facing conflicts. However, they were necessary steps for my growth, and challenges that needed to be overcome.

 

There were also times where I forced myself to do something that felt like the wrong choice just because I felt like I should, and I ended up with just what you would expect - an unsatisfying conclusion. I made this mistake when it came to friends, studying, events, field trips, and everything in between.


Learning how to make that distinction is the most valuable thing I’ve taken away from The Washington Center experience. For the first time, I feel like I finally trust and know myself well enough to make decisions based on confidence rather than fear and uncertainty.

 

It’s been a great semester. For anyone who has read my blog, especially future students, I hope you feel as though you’ve gotten something out of it - I’ve certainly gotten something out of writing it. To any student who takes advantage of this incredible opportunity in the future, I urge you to see it as the chance for self-discovery, success, and adventure that it truly is, just as I have.

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