So if you haven’t heard — or seen my mom’s dozens of proud Facebook posts — I’m spending the spring semester in Washington, DC. Through an organization called the Washington Center, about 400 other college students and I obtained internships, housing and academic programming in the nation’s capital.

The photo all moms insist upon taking.


It’s a really diverse group of students, with people from most U.S. states as well as South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Gibraltar — a country I was completely unaware existed. FYI: It’s a British Overseas Territory that shares its northern border with Spain. More importantly, its citizens have the coolest accents I’ve ever heard.

Our internships are at law firms, nonprofits, government offices and media outlets across DC. But most of us live in one of three buildings in NoMa, the neighborhood “north of Massachusetts Avenue.” There’s a good burger place just steps from my apartment, so I’ve settled in quite nicely.

Anyway, I was reluctant to blog about my experience thus far because a) I’ve yet to achieve my goal of casually chatting up Joe Biden while getting bagels and b) all I want to do when I get home is crawl into bed. It’s true what the grown-ups say: The 9-to-5 life is tiring.

Especially when your commute is 30 minutes of this.

Especially when your commute is 30 minutes of this.

My first few days were a series of orientation activities — informational sessions, floor meetings, mixers, the kind of things you seriously consider skipping. Eventually we were broken up into professional tracks based on major and type of internship. Media and communication students like me were headed to the Newseum.

I was psyched. “Finally!” I thought. “Something interesting and quintessentially ‘DC.’” I slipped on some professional attire, including new dress shoes, and left for the NoMa metro stop. My feet began hurting on the way, but I figured it was no big deal. And I was running late, as per uzh.

By the time I made it to the platform, both my achilles tendons were shredded. I couldn’t go back to my apartment without being obscenely late for my group’s activity, so I resigned myself to an afternoon of limping along in blood-stained flats.

Me after my first trip to the Newseum.

Me after my first trip to the Newseum.

I don’t know if there is a lesson to be learned here. Always carry a backup pair of shoes? Don’t buy shoes from JCPenney, lest your feet be sliced off somewhere near the Edward Murrow exhibit?

Thankfully, the first week of my internship went much more smoothly. I’m interning at Active Minds, a nonprofit that promotes mental health awareness on college campuses, one of them being Gannon. (Check out Gannon’s chapter on engageU.)

Pardon the cheese, but I feel so incredibly lucky to gain valuable job experience while assisting an organization whose mission I support wholeheartedly.

Not to mention my supervisors are fantastic. They even treated me to lunch in DuPont Circle on my first day. Side note: If heaven is indeed for real, it’s filled with lasagna and caramel gelato.

In just one week, I’ve drafted a press release, compiled media contacts and put together PostSecretU kits. I also became well-acquainted with Active Mind’s Mental Health Unity Pledge and its Send Silence Packing program, which will be displayed at Gannon in April.

I’m a little overwhelmed learning the new procedures and software, but I’m thrilled to be working in my field of choice and, of course, making a small difference.