Prior to the 2016 election, I had no idea what I wanted to study in college or ain towards career-wise. I grew up in the small town of Shueyville, Iowa – a place that has little interaction with Washington D.C. When the 2016 election season came around, I realized that this was something I wanted to do – or felt that I had to do – as I watched a debate between two people who seemed to be saying both a lot and very little all at once.
Unfortunately, this epiphany came after I had visited family in Washington D.C. a few years prior (about 8 years ago now). Thus, my understanding and image of the D.C. world is faded and misshapen. While 11-year-old me enjoyed looking at Dorthy’s ruby slippers in the Smithsonian, she did not fancy the White House or other such nonsense. This trip is valuable to me because I now have a whole new mindset of walking into D.C. – to learn as much as possible about everything that goes on there. While I know that politics is my passion, that is still a quite broad area of interest and thus I aim to learn as much about evey different facet of the D.C. world as I can.
In light of the government shutdown, I am interested to learn more about what D.C. during a shutdown looks and operates like – and along with this, I am interested in hearing or learning more about “the wall.” In the name of transparency, I personally am not in support of such a wall, but I am very intrigued to hear more about the pros and cons of such. Another area of interest for me personally is the Women’s March, which will be happening at the tail end of our visit (and I will be attending). This is a movement I have always been in support of and I believe is a force to be reckoned with. I think the clashing of the March with the shutdown, should prove to be a very interesting and educational time to be in Washington D.C.
Professionally, I hope to both improve on and learn how to network and use it to find jobs (ISO summer employment). I look forward to all the opportunities we will have to meet professionals in D.C., but networking is something I have little to no experience with, while I understand the great benefits of. Networking is a skill that will be relevant and valuable for my entire life and thus I am aiming to work on so as to better prepare myself for the future.
I am eager to learn. Although I may not have the prior political knowledge that some of my peers may have, or have not been set on this career path for as long, I love to learn and aim to do so as much as possible. In high school, I had a teacher that told me “learning does not stay within the 9:00-3:00 school day, it is everywhere,” and this mindset is truly how I am walking into this trip.
But above all else, I aim to get $2,600 worth of learning out of this trip