By Eric Anderson
It has been a little over a week since I have come to Washington DC and it has been quite the experience to say the least. I grew up in Plymouth Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis; while not having a particularly small population it in no way felt like growing up in a “big city.” I decided to go to school in Des Moines, Iowa; sure it may be the capital, but it is dwarfed in comparison to almost any metropolitan area – as most would be able to reason independently when seeing the majestic Des Moines Skyline for the first time. While I have been in many large cities around the country prior to this trip, this is the first time when I have felt like I have the ability to be truly independent in one.
The Washington Center has housing similar to a small apartment which is distinctly different feel than a hotel room, I am away from my parents which makes this trip more of “my thing” and less of “their thing,” and the biggest difference of this trip is that I have responsibilities that I need to be accountable for. These different components on this trip have made for a brand new kind of experience; I feel more immersed in the culture of this large city.
Many other vacations that I have been on I have played the role of the tourist in the big city – seeking out landmarks and activities then returning to the hotel for the night. Here I have been doing actual work within the city, having the interviews and projects that carry a specific weight has made my DC experience unique when compared to the other cities that I have visited. I would believe that this deeper connection to the things that I am doing has given me a deeper connection to the city as well, something that, as a person who has never felt this way about a large city, I find to be quite interesting.