© The Washington Leadership Program 2017 by Shaunak Turaga

WLP 2018 Week 5: Finally Figuring It Out?

July 17, 2018

This week’s blog title might imply that we reached an inflection point—a point at which we discovered what this city, this program, and everything they have to offer mean for us—but for me, that question mark is especially key. The reality is that the wealth of opportunities to which we have been exposed is equal parts motivating and overwhelming, and each week throws at us a new curve ball to make us reformat everything we had begun to plan.

For example, by now I had pretty much settled on two potential long-term paths: campaign work or law school. Both options stemmed from incredible conversations we’d had at previous WLP events, and I was excited about exploring each. Then, we had our first event of the week—the healthcare panel—and suddenly everything I’d done in college came rushing back. Hearing Akash Chougule and Dr. Narasimhan present countering and passionate views on healthcare and the Affordable Care Act, reminded me why I’d chosen to apply for this program in the first place, which was to explore the world of healthcare policy and its impact on the most vulnerable populations. The healthcare panel reinvigorated in me a desire to ensure that healthcare is an important facet of whatever work I pursue.

 

The very next day, we attended a fundraiser for a Congressional candidate from my home district—Aftab Pureval in OH-1! I was so excited to meet Aftab and members of his campaign team, and talking to them about joining his campaign when I return to Cincinnati made me eager to return home. It was pretty amazing to hear Aftab talk about working at a federal level to improve the lives of residents in my district. I resolved to center Cincinnati in the work of whatever field I enter.

 

Later in the week, we attended the event of the summer: Priya D’s party. It was a fantastic collision of the multiple worlds we have developed over the summer—the fellow interns in different programs, the panelists/mentors we’ve met through WLP, and the never-ending litany of people we hadn’t yet met but with whom we exchanged business cards and stories of how we’d landed in D.C. Multiple times this summer, I’ve gotten to soak in the fact that I’m surrounded only by South Asians who are working in countless fields to better the American condition, and Priya D’s party showcased how much I’ve come to love D.C.’s South Asian community and the great work it does, to which I want to contribute.  

Of course, I would be remiss not to mention my fellow WLPers. As everyone before me has mentioned, we spent almost every day together, heading to the Supreme Court to participate in the reaction to Kavanaugh’s nomination or lying on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. They make it difficult to want to return to Cincinnati, and I am grateful for the overwhelmingly positive impact they’ve had on my summer and my D.C. experience.

 

If any thread exists in this blog post, it’s that I really haven’t figured it out—who knows which, if any, of the above paths I’ll take? Most everyone in D.C. has stressed that, really, no one “figures it out” this early. Everyone does only what seems best in each moment, careening from one career to the next, dipping their toes in multiple fields, and learning from each experience. What I haven’t figured out is what the next thirty years of my life will entail. What I have figured it out is that I’m looking forward to those years anyway.

 

Sincerely,

Shivank Singh

Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s Office

University of Cincinnati ‘18

 

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