Week 6: Go for the moon

50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing~Washington Monument

Aaaaaand just like that week 6 is over!!! Officially only 2 weeks left here in DC and I am pretty sad that my time in this amazing city is coming to an end. Week 6 was great, busy as usual but full of some really cool experiences!

Throughout the week, I went to my internship and class like normal. My internship has been amazing, I truly love everything I’ve been learning at the ESC and the work I’ve been able to do. I have been getting some more projects to work on and, while that makes it more busy and stressful, I feel really grateful that my supervisors trust me to give me these opportunities.

Monday night was extra special because I got to see some friendly faces from home, Drea, Sarah and Grace Boeringa. These 3 wonderful ladies are some of my favorites and I just so happened to run into them at the Lincoln Memorial while they were in DC for the day. It actually wasn’t that coincidental because Drea told me they were in town that morning and would be seeing the monuments at night, but I still took a chance and last minute decided to take a walk with Josh and see if I would find them (I honestly didn’t think I would!). It was so nice seeing some friendly faces because I haven’t been home for a long period of time for almost the last 6 months and while I love the adventures I have been having, I still miss all my friends and family like crazy! Drea, Sarah and Grace, it was so great seeing you all and I can’t wait to come home for a full catch-up session!!!

Drea, Grace, Sarah and myself at the Lincoln Memorial. I love seeing friends!!

On Thursday morning, I attended a professional development seminar organized by TFAS on landing a job and negotiating. I truly enjoyed this seminar, the speakers were very engaging, informative, and gave great advice about entering the workforce. This seminar provided me with some confidence as I am about to enter my senior year of college and all I think about 90% of the time is what am I going to do after graduation. This whole summer in general has been very beneficial in helping me figure that out and has given me some much needed clarity on what I want for myself post-graduation. Whether that is working in the non-profit sector, public/government sector, traveling/service work or pursuing grad school, I feel confident that I am equipped and prepared for the next chapter.

This past weekend was exhausting! On Friday, the LTAP program travelled to Charlottesville, Virginia for a weekend hosted by the Ronald Reagan Insitute. We left at 7am and spent 2.5 hours on a bus with NO AC!! I may sound dramatic for a second, but I felt like I was literally dying. I’m sure most of you know that this past weekend there was a heat advisory for most of the Midwest and East coast. By 9am, it was already 95 degrees, the sun was blasting through the windows on the bus, and there was no air circulation. It is very safe to say that everyone of us on the bus was miserable. About an hour and a half into the trip we had to pull over at a 7/11 to cool off. I got myself an Icee and some cold waters to keep myself cool for when we got back on the bus. After about 20 minutes, we had to get back on the hot bus to finish the rest of the trip. Finally, we got to UVA and took about 20 minutes to try and look professional and not like we had just gone to the sun.

The rest of the day was spent listening to speakers with the main topic being Polarization in the U.S. today. There were some very interesting conversations and it was really informative to hear professors and other experts talk about the issue of polarization, the differences in political culture between the millennial generation and generations pre-social media/24-hour news cycles.

LTAP-ers taking in the incredible views at Monticello (left to right: Barbara, Joe, Natasha, myself, Josh)

On Saturday, we made the short drive to Monticello, now on a fully air-conditioned bus (PRAISE THE LORD!!!)–the former estate of President Thomas Jefferson. Despite the 100 degree heat, I still really enjoyed this site visit. The estate is beautiful and learning about some of the more quirky facts of Thomas Jefferson was really interesting–he was obsessed with time and a very curious man.

The Washington Monument with a projection of space and the moon

After returning from Monticello on Saturday afternoon (and taking a much needed nap), my friends and I went to the Washington Monument for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing show. The national mall was PACKED, I had never seen it more crowded, not even on the 4th of July. Thousands of people showed up to see the special show displayed on the Washington Monument and surrounding screens of footage from the moon landing back in 1969. This was easily one of my absolute favorite experiences I have had this summer. I honestly shed a tear sitting in the lawn of the national mall watching footage from man’s first time on the moon. It was very emotional to watch in the nation’s capitol of the 50th anniversary. Maybe it was because the moon landing is something that I’ve only grown up learning about in school because I was not alive when it happened, but there is something really beautiful about witnessing the out-of-this-world (literally) achievement by the Untied States of America and all of mankind, even if it was 50 years later. Watching Neil Armstrong step out of Apollo 11 and take the first step on the moon truly represents the humans have the capabilities to use our forever increasing knowledge to do great things.

JFK’s speech on the day that the mission to put man on the moon launched.

Well, that is all for week 6. Heading into week 7 excited and ready to get so much done!!!

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