Time in D.C. offers more than memorable internship

Time in D.C. offers more than memorable internship

After living in Washington, D.C. for almost six weeks, I’ve learned to manage one of the nation’s largest transportation systems, to survive without a car, and that living and or studying outside of Iowa is a decision every Simpson student should consider.

Over the summer, I was deciding between interning in New York City or Washington, D.C. While I had traveled to NYC, I’d never been to D.C. Yet I was comfortable learning how to live in a city I had never visited. Knowing that other Simpson students would be in D.C., also through the same Capitol Hill Internship Program, gave me the confidence that I wouldn’t be only one experiencing a change from Iowa life.

I looked forward knowing my D.C. departure date loomed soon after the New Year. Over Christmas break, family and friends were offering phone numbers of people they knew who lived in the D.C. area and could show me around the city. Although my greatest fear was figuring out how to get my luggage from the baggage claim to a cab, I felt prepared for the nation’s capital.

I’ll be honest, interning in Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s office made me more nervous than living in the city. I knew that by working in one of the most professional work environments, I would discover whether or not I could handle the fast-paced, political atmosphere on a full-time basis. After being in the office for six weeks, I still look forward to work every day and enjoy everything, and I mean everything, about it.

As much as I could go on about my internship, it’s living in D.C. that is influencing my life. Over the summer, I lived on campus with one of my closest friends and had a great part-time internship in Des Moines. While yes, I could have had yet another great internship opportunity in Iowa, I was still in the safety net of being surrounded by friends or family. Deciding to do an out-of-state internship is the best decision I have made while at Simpson.

My time spent in D.C. takes me from that safety net most of us fear living without. Being away from my friends and family has allowed me to reflect on my life without the influence of those who know me best.

The real world is not as scary as it appears. Being part of the CHIP Program is a stepping-stone to assist with the transition from school to the “real world.” I think it’s safe to assume that a majority of students that attend our college are from small schools across the state. I too am one of those students, and it’s to those students I suggest studying or interning outside of Iowa.

Learning to live outside of our comfort zone adds confidence in our ability to handle and conquer new situations- Google maps and Metro (subway) maps are my new best friends. If you have an open mind and embrace unfamiliar situations that living in a different environment offers, anyone can be comfortable in a new city and hopefully come to love it.