By: Sarah LeBlanc
As our days in Washington, D.C. came to a close, we reminisced on the two weeks we spent in D.C. – all the site visits, monuments, and 90 miles of ground we covered on foot. Our motto throughout our adventure was that we were a happy, cohesive and exemplary group – and by the final day when we all said our goodbyes, we had all proven that each of us played an important role in living up to these expectations.
The Drake in D.C. team boasted a range of majors, political leanings and ages, but each of us were drawn to this J-Term because we wanted to see history be made and learn more about the politics behind our nation’s capital. And for some, we wanted to get a glimpse behind the scenes at how this transition of power was being covered by news organizations.
Looking back, junior News/Internet journalism major and Times-Delphic editor-in-chief Jess Lynk elaborated on her favorite parts of the trip – and some moments she could have done without. Being a journalism major, it might be expected that her favorite tour was of the Washington Post, given by a Drake grad who works for the Post.
“Four of us journalism majors got to go to the Washington Post, which was an amazing opportunity, especially right now because of inauguration week,” Lynk said. “It was just really cool to see people who were really inspired in a career you want to go into.”
Lynk became interested in the melding of politics and journalism during the Iowa caucuses last February when she was busy covering campaigns for both the Times-Delphic and another caucus-focused J-Term class.
“I fell in love with journalism and politics reporting after the Iowa caucus season,” Lynk said. “This was kind of really fitting because I was super involved in politics and I was covering campaigns and kind of saw it from that side, so I thought it would be cool if I got to see it at the bookend, and kind of see how that whole political season ends.”
Lynk definitely reached her goal, and while she expected to be kept busy, she wasn’t prepared for 12 hour days that started with seminars at the Washington Center, followed by two to three site visits, finding or making dinner and rounding the day off with a class discussion. The people she was able to meet and the places she was able to visit, however, made the mild exhaustion well worth the trip.
Though the two weeks in D.C. exceeded her expectations and left her feeling satisfied, it didn’t start out that way. Lynk’s round-trip flight from Des Moines to D.C. on United will probably be her last on that airline.
“The day started off rough,” Lynk said. “We got in line at United and had to wait for an hour to check our luggage because their system was down, but they didn’t realize their system was down and I was the one who had to tell them their system was down.”
Thus began her journey as one of the Newark Three, who flew on a delayed flight to Newark and then boarded an Amtrak headed to D.C. after their connecting flight was canceled. When they finally pulled into Union Station, a group of students who had smoother travels were waiting with a sign. Unfortunately, the group arrived at the station without their belongings.
“There was a nice sign to welcome us here which was really nice after a long day of traveling,” Lynk said. “Four days later our luggage was delivered to the Washington Center, cold, because it was obviously in a truck all night, but it was all there.”
From there, her experience in D.C. could only get better, and through Lynk’s eyes, the trip will be one to remember for the opportunity to tour the newsroom of a publication she admires, and to witness history be made through a peaceful transition of power.