For as long as I could remember, I have wanted to live in Washington, D.C. I grew up visiting family members who worked at the Pentagon, so D.C. was my version of Disney World. The city’s energy, marble buildings and bustling atmosphere enthralled the mind of a 12-year-old kid from the easy-going South.
However, as my days actually living in D.C. have turned to weeks and now months, I now realize my idealistic vision of the nation’s capital was a little skewed. The city landscape, cold weather and frenetic atmosphere of D.C. came as a significant culture shock to someone who grew up among the Southern hospitality and balmy winters of Charleston, SC.
The realities of urban life surround me every day as I walk to and from my internship: loud car horns and stoic commuters, co-workers who must cope with the tangible stress of government jobs and the divisive culture that has consumed much of American politics.
Embracing the little moments
In those sporadic moments when I begin to question my decision to move here, I’m faced with a choice of perspective. I can choose to look down and focus on the cold, wet cement and the continual shuffling of my feet towards my internship. Or I can look up and fix my gaze on the gleaming white dome of the U.S. Capitol Building, towering above the congested streets against a stark yet beautiful sky.
I can power walk towards the Dupont Circle Metro station with hands shoved in the pockets of my coat, weaving through the crowds of other Washingtonians trying to get home. Or, I can pause at the top of the escalator and absorb the melodic notes of a barbershop quartet that performs not only to get pocket change from pedestrians but to provide joy in the midst of the mundane daily grind.
Just as it’s my duty to arrive to work on time, do laundry and prep my meals for the week, I alone am responsible for the way I look at this opportunity I’ve been given.
The District presents challenges, experiences and realities of life that many of us have seldom faced; it’s up to me (and you) to embrace that challenge and grow through it.Tyler Hoover, Spring 2019 intern at Senator Tim Scott’s Office (R-SC).
Enjoying a cup of coffee at Ebeneezers, watching the sunrise over the city from your apartment window or taking a walk around the National Mall can either be a normal occurrence or transcendent moment; the only difference is the way in which you choose to see it. All of a sudden, the cold wind loses some of it’s bite, my walk doesn’t seem so long, and I come into my internship with a smile and uplifting attitude.
Life is what you make it
For me, D.C. hasn’t been the easiest place to get used to. But I have found it to be a city filled with excitement, grandeur and opportunities to seize every moment and make the most of it. Moving cities (or moving across the world for some) is not a easy thing; it takes time to find yourself in a new situation, but once you adapt you will learn more about yourself and grow to appreciate what’s around you.
Maybe during your semester with TWC you learn that D.C. and city life isn’t your place… there are still things you can do to make the most of the time you have in D.C. and make the trip home that much sweeter. Or, maybe you decide this is the life you’ve always wanted; now’s your chance to make it your own.