"Reared on the Gulf Coast, I am accustomed to the natural phenomenon of hurricanes. Enduring several throughout my short lifetime, I have learned one important lesson; I understand that no matter how much wind and rain take things away from individuals and communities, a blank slate is left to create a new and better world. In essence, my move to Washington D.C. was a personal version of a hurricane, turning my world upside down, but leaving me with a blank slate to mold myself into a sophisticated young woman. Two weeks ago, I took my very first plane ride with my mother to move to this great city. I attend college close to my hometown, so this is my first substantial move away from my familiar corner of the country. Luckily, my travels were smooth and held no problems. However, I did encounter my first difficulties when my mother left me, finally alone in a big city. The first large hurdle was the transportation system in Washington. Although I was not raised in a rural area, I was not acclimated to an urban transportation system, such as the Metro. Navigating my way through snaking routes while trying to not slow any other travelers down caused for some touchy encounters with commuters; my Southern drawl of “excuse me” was lost in a virtual sea of diversity. It has been discouraging to be plainly identifiable as a “tourist”.
Yet, this is an experience that I have been yearning for since I was a freshman in high school. Despite the challenge of transportation, I have embraced my new city. Scanning through articles of up and coming events in Washington this summer has left me in a euphoric state. Personally, I cannot wait to attend such events as Movies on the Potomac and the Fourth of July concerts. Above all, I have enjoyed networking with my fellow residents in the Residential and Academic Facility, especially my lovely roommates. Upon arrival, we instantly had a connection over the most minute of things: groceries. This is the first time that each of us have had to buy our own groceries and provide dinner for ourselves, as opposed to a dining hall on our campuses. We have swapped coupons, taken grocery trips together, and have done extensive research in Rachel Ray recipes. This simple ritual of buying groceries and cooking has broken barriers and developed friendships. It has been an enthralling and entertaining time with them, and made my transition to D.C. more enjoyable and smoother.
My internship site is at the Publishing Office of the Library of Congress. When I was first placed here, I was admittedly doubtful of how this internship would help me gain experience in the field of international relations and public policy. However, within the first few days on the job, I have realized that the Publishing Office can help me gain experience in research and writing skills. Already, I am helping in compiling a book on presidential campaign posters, writing short summaries and photo captions. Within this project, I have had to brush up on my American history very quickly. It has been several college semesters since I have dealt with this area of research, but it has been beneficial to remind myself of our great history. Additionally, I hastily learned the number one rule in publishing, the fewer the words, the better. I am familiar with writing lengthy research papers, not with creating short essays under 400 words. It has been difficult streamlining my words to fit, but I believe that this is a necessary skill I need to learn. With this skill in my repertoire, perhaps my writing skills in the classroom will improve. I am very inspired and assured that this internship will aid me in the future.
One area that I wish to personally improve on is my innate shyness. While I am not afraid to introduce myself to people, I lack the professional appearance and self esteem to engage individuals past the introduction stage. This is a crucial aspect of networking that I need to improve almost immediately; if I do not attain this skill, then the professional relationships I will develop in Washington will not grow to fruition. I must overcome this obstacle in order to further myself in the professional world. This is my main area of concern as I begin my internship.
I can already tell that my summer in Washington will be one that I will never forget. Full of friends, fun, and thought-provoking work, I am well on my way to becoming the young woman I have always wanted to be."