By Josh Schoenblatt
Roughly 15 days ago, a group of 25 students and two professors started what would become a life changing and community building class that opened our eyes in ways we never expected. As I write this blog while watching the sun rise from the East, I realized there is not one moment since this class started that I regret.
I disliked blogging greatly prior to the start of the class. Much of this was out of ignorance and not trying to understand what it was. Since the first few days of this class were online blog posts from our homes, I was left feeling uneasy and unsure with every blog I wrote. As those few “awkward” days passed, I began to at least slightly understand what a blog felt like.
Once the actual trip started, things went into overdrive and days blurred together. At some points one day would feel like two or three because of early starts, mid-day naps and late nights. Every moment was action packed and filled with knowledge, emotion, and excitement. To say everyone in the class had a workout from running to trains, keeping up with RPC and navigating intense crowds would be an understatement.
This Capitol where we spent 11 days in changed each and every one of us for the better. Many of us were politics majors, but were unsure of what to do after college. There were also non-politics majors on the trip that wanted to see what an inauguration was. After many site visits, talks with alumni and soul searching through the historic monuments, many of us found a new path for our future that was not visible 10 days ago. And it was amazing to watch my fellow classmates as their eyes would glow with passion when they found what their future could hold.
This trip like any other trip and had hiccups that had to be dealt with. Some of them were small and easy to fix. Taking a wrong train when trying to get back to the dorms. Or trying to decide whether to sleep or pull an all-nighter to finish a blog. We managed these with ease. This group also faced some larger hiccups that did push the group back a step. They were never fun, but luckily they were rare. And with each hiccup, the group grew closer in its bonds. People I had never met 15 days ago, I was laughing and cracking jokes with like we were attached at the hip. It was a great feeling and sight knowing that my 25 classmates were also my 25 friends. From day one we were told that this would be a “happy and cohesive group” and to this day we not only made that slogan a reality but excelled in it.
The lessons I learned are endless and the people I met I doubt I’ll ever forget. Each one of us bought a certain personally that the group needed to keep up together. The syllabus explained that we would all receive a deeper understanding of politics and journalism at the end of the course, which we did, yet I think we learned something bigger. We learned how to create a community, work together against adversity, and made sure that a good laugh was always felt.