An Opportunity of a Lifetime

By Lauren Bunce

I was seven – yes, only seven – when my family and I first realized that politics would forever be a passion of mine. On that November night in 2000, something compelled me to patiently sit in front of the TV on my living room floor, listening and watching as election results rolled in. With one blue and one red colored pencil, I recorded every percentage, statistic, and final result into my favorite Lisa Frank notebook. It wasn’t until around 11:30 PM that my parents finally convinced me to go to bed, reassuring me that when I woke up for school Wednesday morning we would find out whether Al Gore or George W. Bush would be the 43rd President of the United States. I was intrigued, curious, and hooked.

As I prepare to leave for Washington D.C. tomorrow, I can’t help but reflect back on the many political memories I have made and look forward to the ones I am about to make. I am grateful to both Drake University and The Washington Center for providing me with the unbelievable opportunity to not only witness the 57th Inauguration first hand, but also to explore our nation’s capital on a more intricate level, to challenge myself and my opinions in lectures and discussions, and to network with intelligent and influential professionals in Washington.

I have always been captivated by powerful, influential speech. There is nothing more graceful than the eloquent articulation of one’s thoughts. President Obama is undoubtedly one of the most incredible orators in America and I cannot wait to hear him speak again. In his speech I hope to hear words of encouragement and inspiration, but ultimately, a plan of action. The American public is tired of empty promises and partisan gridlock and, quite frankly, so am I.

The American political process is certainly an interesting one, deeply rooted in our country’s history and in the city of Washington D.C. itself. The chance to explore those relationships further on an academic level excites me. My expectations for this trip are high but there is no doubt in my mind that my expectations will be met and even exceeded.


“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” ~ Mark Twain

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