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WLP 2021 Week 1: Settling In

After spending another academic year on Zoom, I was excited about the summer—moving to Washington, DC, starting my summer internship, and connecting with my WLP cohort. Although WLP programming is virtual this summer, almost half of our cohort decided to move for work or for a change of scenery, so I was excited to explore the city with them.

One of the biggest concerns I had before moving to DC and starting WLP virtually was how the cohort would mesh. Would we share any similarities? How would our personalities interact in a shared competitive space? These questions were quickly answered when we all met virtually at the pizza party, the first meeting where we actively socialized and learned more about each other through questionnaires and games. I quickly realized how amazing, funny, and caring everyone was and immediately knew this summer was going to be one for the books.

We formally began the program by participating in a two-day orientation where we met WLP alumni, many of whom are lawyers and Hill and agency staffers. They provided key insights on how to successfully navigate our respective workplaces as an intern and how to effectively set productive goals. We participated in a couple sessions led by Ashwin Warrior, who helped us understand why it is important to understand our purpose, audience, and context and to factor in emotion, logic, and credibility when composing messages. It was wonderful listening to the cohort share personal narratives on challenges they faced, and it made me realize that despite everyone’s stories being different, we face similar challenges. Ashwin’s sessions energized the cohort and reminded all of us why it is important we continue to keep giving back to our community. We ended orientation by finalizing our topic for the WLP summer leadership project, a capstone of the WLP summer, in which we hope to highlight South Asian trailblazers in our local communities involved in civic engagement.

Although my internship at the Department of Education does not begin until next week, I took this opportunity to explore DC and meet up with members of my cohort. I also made multiple trips to the grocery store and learned how to cook quite a few meals! I enjoyed finally meeting my cohort for the first time as we grabbed coffee and food and walked around the city. It truly feels like we all have known each other for years!

This week came to an end after an educational virtual networking event led by WLP alum Hetali Lodaya, Anmol Nagar, and Mihiri Kotikawatta. I learned a lot about how to successfully network while navigating through a virtual environment. They were also kind enough to share email templates and best practices.

I start my internship next week, so I’m excited to take what I learned this previous week and apply it to my internship. From understanding the basics of cooking and "adulting" and learning how to be a successful intern at an agency, to acknowledging the fundamentals of successful messaging and networking in a virtual environment, I have never felt more prepared to start my summer.

I am excited to start my internship next week and cannot wait to enrich my knowledge in policy as a member of the WLP community this summer!


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