By Sarah LeBlanc
The first and only time I’ve been to our nations capital was in 7th Grade, and quite honestly, I was more excited about getting a stuffed panda at the Smithsonian museum than I was about seeing the White House. Eight years later, I hope to call the city home one day, and when I arrive tomorrow, I want to take the city in through the eyes of someone who might belong there.
As a journalism and politics double major, what I’m most excited about, outside of potentially visiting the Newseum, is being directly involved in an event the media will be covering for the next week, if not the next month or even the next year. I want to compare my experience to what those not in the city will be interpreting through a camera lens or media framing and analyze how I will cover the event if given the chance. I’d also like to make connections with professionals in all aspects of political or journalistic careers, but especially those who might have reported with a publication like Politico or the Washington Post, or have helped formulate policy. After college, I’ve always wanted to go into a field where I can make a difference, and by choosing journalism and politics, I hope to accomplish this by assisting in giving the masses opportunities to be educated and informed and able to make their own decisions without manipulation – and hopefully this trip will help me decide if D.C. is the place where I can reach my goal.
I want to hear the authentic stories of people who started their lives here and what their fears, joys and successes were like in their respective fields. I’ve heard Washington D.C. is a city built on connections, so while I’m there, I’d like to learn about what it would take to be able to find a job there, and beyond that, be successful. Namely, how to network with professionals in fields I hope to attain someday, whether it’s asking the right questions or just being more confident.
When I attend the inauguration, I hope to hear about how or if Donald Trump plans to incorporate the First Amendment into his presidency. In a time of deep and divisive polarization, I believe it’s important for the media to be free and able to assuage the fears of the public or to simply give individuals the tools to understand what this presidency will mean for them. Attending the inauguration will be a highlight of my educational career at Drake University, and I hope to be able to look back on it saying that I made the most of this opportunity and experienced history, no matter who is making it.