Great (Revised) Expectations

By Lauren Ehrler

When I signed up for this J-term experience, I had never been to our nation’s capital. I thought the trip would be a great chance to visit a new city, witness a historic event and learn a thing or two about the political atmosphere in Washington, D.C. But those original expectations all changed after I spent a summer with the Capitol building in my backyard.

I’ve seen the monuments, I’ve visited the museums and I can navigate the metro. These were the things I was excited about the first time around. But now, having the basics under my belt I am feeling even more excited and grateful than ever to be visiting Washington, D.C., again, this time in an academic setting.

Headed back a second time, I’m not only excited to return to the city I fell in love with but to do some of the awesome things our “happy, cohesive group” has planned like bowling at the White House (!!!), networking with Drake alums and taking part in the National Day of Service. I have no doubt that this will be a memorable trip and I’m excited to document it on this blog.

The scene of the inauguration, but I don’t think we will be sporting tank tops in January. (No more tourist pictures – I promise!)

But of course, I am excited to hear what President Obama has to say in his inauguration speech. There is no doubt that Obama is a powerful public speaker. I expect to walk away from the ceremony feeling inspired and hopeful for our nation’s next four years – a four years that will be especially important to me as I enter the real world and seek my first job.

What I want to hear from Obama is not necessarily his plans for immigration, gun control or the debt ceiling. Solutions to these problems will never be settled in the divided nation we currently live in. Instead, I want to know how President Obama plans to inspire lawmakers to put aside party differences and come together to work towards progress on these and many more important issues.

Washington D.C. is not just a capital full of politicians and lobbyists. It truly is a dynamic city filled with things to do, places to visit, but most of all passionate, ambitious people who are seeking to make a difference in their field. I hope my trip back to D.C. will further motivate me to be one of those people not just someday, but someday soon.

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