What I Learned About Bipartisanship From My 12 Classmates

By Taylor Larson

If you had asked me a week ago how many of the students in our travel seminar I truly knew before into this trip, I would’ve responded with “one.” If you asked me how many students I know now, my answer would most definitely be “twelve.”

What truly brought us together?

Having conversations about our favorite U.S. presidents? Sure.

Sharing Drake memories? Probably a little.

Traveling around a new city together on the unfamiliar Metro? Definitely.

But there was a driving force to our camaraderie: bipartisanship.

After only seven days, I have learned who is a morning person, who thinks I’m funny, and who needs my help to stay awake in a slightly too-warm room. I have learned everyone’s political affiliation, and I learned how to cooperate and adjust accordingly. And most importantly, I have learned how to philosophically argue for liberal and conservative sides of immigration (see our final compromise here) and how to look at political issues through multiple lenses.

As we shift from the subject of bipartisanship to the media at The Washington Center, I would argue that I learned the most about compromise in our small group sessions. I appreciate all twelve of my classmates bringing ideas to the table and sometimes entertaining civil disagreement.

Maybe we should create our own united party on the “small group discussion in sweatpants” platform. Maybe Congress should be required to take “Exploring Bipartisan Solutions” from Rachel Paine Caufield and Jill Van Wyke.

Maybe Congress could learn a little from us.

Students on the metro during Sunday's scavenger hunt. From left to right: Joey Gale, Kate Brightwell, Levi Larson, Queion Swift. Photo by Joey Gale

Students on the metro during Sunday’s scavenger hunt. From left to right: Joey Gale, Kate Brightwell, Levi Larson, Queion Swift. Photo by Joey Gale

Group picture in front of the sculpture House 1 by Roy Lichtenstein at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. Photo by Kylie Jacobsen

Group picture in front of the sculpture House 1 by Roy Lichtenstein at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. Photo by Kylie Jacobsen

A group of students on our scavenger hunt Sunday. Left to right: Kevin Maisto, Manny Jacobson, Taylor Larson, and Katie Allen.

A group of students on our scavenger hunt Sunday. Left to right: Kevin Maisto, Manny Jacobson, Taylor Larson, and Katie Allen. Photo by Kevin Maisto

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