What I expect from J-Term 2017: Washington D.C.

By: Alec Wilcox

This J-Term trip will definitely be fascinating and informative. I have been to Washington D.C. before but never in a class setting. My learning and professional goals for this trip are to learn how to effectively tap into a network to find jobs, learn more about what, if anything, politicians in Washington are doing to alleviate our federal budget deficit, and to get a better feel of what all goes into foreign policy decision making. It seems very easy to take foreign policy decisions at face value when viewing them through the media. However most people can admit that what comes from the media is not always the all-encompassing truth. Thus, I am looking forward to possibly getting the chance to speak with someone regarding foreign policy decision making.

The syllabus lays out several things that will be major highlights in this course while in Washington D.C. Of course the inauguration will be memorable in its own right, but one of the other things I am highly interested in is discussing the level of discourse which is currently being used in American politics. From the top down it seems that this election cycle has brought a new level of harshness to political discourse, and I look forward to talking about how we return to a higher level of civility when discussing political topics, if this is even possible. My question regarding this topic is an overarching one, how do we get to some sense of unity in politics? Some Republicans in Washington set out to disrupt everything President Obama tried to do during his presidency. Now some Democrats have said that they will do the same thing to Donald Trump. As an American who appreciates unity and understands that the best solutions most often come from groups with differing viewpoints, the lack of desire to compromise and unify is something I would like to get a better understanding of on this trip.

Aside from experiencing the Presidential Inauguration just for the sake of attending such a historic event, I am looking forward to hearing what our new president has to say. The harsh rhetoric in this campaign was partially his doing, and I look forward to seeing if he speaks with more eloquence on inauguration day, in an effort to unite the country under his presidency. I would also like to hear him speak about foreign policy and immigration. Those are the two policy issues that intrigue me the most, and it seems that he has significantly impactful stances regarding these issues, and I look forward to hearing how he will implement these stances. If he doesn’t speak on these issues, I look forward to getting a better insight into what the implementation of these stances would mean for America.

I am very excited to have the opportunity to go on this trip. I look forward to getting an in depth look of Washington D.C. Finally, I hope to come away with my questions answered and my learning goals achieved.


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