This week was the first time that I was able to go into the office for my internship at the Department of Commerce in the SelectUSA Division. I entered the office on Tuesday with a sense of confusion on where to go and who to speak to. Yet, I ended the day with a clear understanding of the projects I had to work on and a developing friendship with my supervisor. I realized quickly that I would need to be willing to ask for more work and be honest with others about what I do and do not understand. This was truly a learning moment for me as the week progressed as I knew I needed to develop more effective communication skills to make the most of each day.
Outside of my internship, I was able to reconnect with old friends and new friends within my cohort. This past Monday, we explored the Georgetown area and were able to try the infamous Georgetown Cupcakes shop that has been a DC stable for years. The cupcakes were better than I imagined! I feel like I have gotten so much closer to my cohort members through meals, deep conversations, and a similar desire to explore the city and culture around us. Outside of WLP, I was able to see close friends from college and try new restaurants which gave me a true taste of what DC has to offer.
Mentorship was a tremendously important part of my week as I was able to meet with two of the assigned mentors through the program. I was able to have fruitful conversations about the value of graduate school, various programs like Teach for America, and the intersection of public policy and business. Both of my mentors stressed the vital importance of forming lasting relationships throughout the summer. These conversations were critical to help remember that everyone’s path is completely different and to understand the importance of approaching new challenges with my eyes wide open.
The end of this week was challenging for all the members of my cohort as two Supreme Court decisions led to many powerful discussions on core moral values. The most monumental ruling was the court’s decision to overturn the 50-year precedent of Roe V. Wade. While many of the cohort members struggled to accept this newfound reality, we also realized the need for action to express our beliefs. Members of the cohort attended protests outside the Supreme Court to exhibit our First Amendment rights and engaged in pressing conversations to stress the importance of open dialogue. While this decision caused severe anger and disappointment in many communities, it also served as an opportunity to reconnect with core American values such as voting and protesting that can help lead to important societal and political changes. Ultimately, this week was one of professional, personal, and moral growth as I truly experienced what the world around us has to offer.