Ashley – Intro to My D.C. Summer

5Hey all!

My name is Ashley and I’m a Linguistics major (intending to take on a double major in Psychology as well).  I just finished my second year at UC Santa Barbara, and I’m extremely excited to be spending my summer interning in Washington, D.C.  As a busy student, mentor, research assistant, and part-time employee during the school year, I decided summer was the best time to participate in the UCDC program.  I first heard about the program my freshman year and thought it sounded like an awesome opportunity to build strong professional skills.  The first few days have been amazing, and I’ve already met quite a few UCDC students from across the UC system. So far I’m the only non-Political Science major I know of, so it’s definitely intimidating to be surrounded by peers who know so much more than I do about what happens here in the capital.  Please wish me luck.

I4 arrived in D.C. still looking and interviewing for internships, so I won’t actually start interning until the second week of the program.  However, I am happy to finally announce that (as of yesterday) I have an internship!  Next week I’ll be starting my internship at the U.S. Department of the Interior.  But until then I’ll be exploring this bustling city, melting in the heat, and reading articles about how to not be “that” intern.

Since this is my first time interning, I am ridiculously nervous.  What if I suddenly forget how to complete the most basic of tasks?  Making copies?  How to use a stapler?  The department I’m working for??  Okay I’m over exaggerating, but I do get increasingly nervous as the days roll by and my first day approaches.  In preparation for that day, I’ve done a lot of research about how to be a successful intern.  The top three tips I’ve learned are to be proactive, to understand that small tasks are important, and to ask if you don’t know the answer.  With these tips and a briefcase full of others, I’m ready to get the most out of my internship experience.

I mentioned it already, but this aspect of the city needs to be emphasized: it is hot here.
I’m sure a lot of people will laugh at me for whining, but the D.C. summer heat is something I was wholly unprepared for.  Walking outside from the wonderfully air-conditioned UC Washington Center is like walking straight into the warmest, tightest hug possible: stuffy, wet, and inescapable.

3Aside from melting onto the sidewalks, I’ve had an amazing time here the past three days.  The people I’ve spoken with have been really friendly and welcoming, I’ve taken pictures in front of the White House, and I’ve walked around some of the monuments and memorials
during the evening.  I’ve even spotted the closest Krispy Kreme Donut (definitely a highlight thus far).  The atmosphere here is a lot different than what I’m used to.  Being from a more suburban, coastal city in Southern California, I’m not accustomed to the busy city life.  The confident strides of businesspeople and the air of professionalism made me a little uneasy at first, but I think I’m getting used to it all.  The change of (literal) pace is refreshing, and I believe I’m ready to start taking those confident strides myself.

2I can’t wait to write more about my experiences in D.C.  Look out for more posts and random tidbits from me!  I’ll also be adding a tip or two to the end of each of my posts, just a little thing that I’ve learned and/or experienced.

Tip #1: Always stop by Subway to grab a cold drink; you never know who you’ll meet.

-Ashley

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