Since being in DC, I have rarely felt like an outsider because as an American I feel an intrinsic connection to the city and as someone born in Baltimore, Maryland I have been here many times throughout my childhood so it feels familiar. It is however strange to be in certain political or business settings because I am confronted with so many individuals who are in the position I wish to be in down the road and I am often intimidated by their experience and prestige—in a good way.
One interesting thing about DC is how important networking is in this city. Every speaker, when discussing how they got to where they are, mentions how it all started with them having a coffee with someone in a high-up position telling that person a bit about themselves and using them as a resource to find job and internship opportunities. Due to this, many people in DC are really kind to young people and willing to interface with them and tell them about their experiences and give them advice.
The most amazing time this happened to me was at the Supreme Court while talking law clerks of Justice Breyer. They were telling us about their experiences at law school and how to work your way up the ladder when all of a sudden Justice Breyer himself walked in and told us how cases across the nation made their way to the Supreme Court and answered our questions as well. It was an honor to meet him and definitely reinforced my desire to go to law school.
Another cool opportunity we had was meeting Chuck Todd of Meet the Press. It was nice to pick his brain and ask questions about political reporting because it just illuminated another really interesting avenue that my Political Science major can lead me down.
MEET THE PRESS — Pictured: (l-r) — Post show on “Meet the Press” in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC)
This experience has honestly been so enlightening about my career options in the future. The possibilities are endless and I now have reference points for everything which is a real blessing. This program has also helped me to work on my networking skills which, as mentioned prior, is such an important aspect of working in DC. If I want to return to this city after graduation then I definitely need to better my ability to cold call and cold email people with the hope of meeting for coffee with them. This is a part of the Washington lingo and ethos that I as a Floridian am not familiar with but I have been working on during my time here. By the end of this program I expect to be fully able to have professional and concise conversations with industry experts and political leaders to self-promote and ensure my success here.