Small Fish in a Big Ocean

Being in Washington D.C is like being a small fish in a big ocean. But I am actually enjoying being that fish exploring this amazing city. Washington D.C is a highly active and vibrant city with plenty to do. On every corner, there is some kind of important building that houses people of power. From the embassies, to famous non-profits, to meeting places of congressional staffers, there is so much to see when you explore. I was so surprised by how clean the metro system is. Yes, that might sound strange to some native Washingtonians, but compared to New York and the metro system in Europe, the D.C metro system is very impressive and very easy to follow. I learned how to use the system in about a day and people here are more than willing to help you if you need help surprisingly. Everything is very formal in D.C, from walking on the mall to going to brunch, dressing up nice is the norm and I actually really like it compared to Arizona where everyone dresses in a tank top and flip flops! Also, the buildings here are very nice and so are the parks. I read an article that said that many of the buildings in Washington D.C are inspired by French architects, no wonder there are parks named after Frenchmen like DuPont Circle and L’Enfant Plaza. Some negative impressions I have of Washington is there is a large homeless population here. Going to parks at night is not the best decision so I would steer clear of any route that makes you go through a park at night or an underdeveloped neighborhood in the South side or East side.

            What I look forward to most is meeting and connecting with the large amount of interns and staff at the American Enterprise Institute and learning more about what I can do after graduation if I ever choose to live in Washington D.C in the future. I will be graduating next May, so taking advantage of every opportunity I can get will be very important for my future professional endeavors. Furthermore, I really look forward to connecting and becoming closer to my fellow Capital Scholars. The whole group is very nice and friendly with a strong dynamic that kicked off the first week. I cannot wait to learn more about every single Capital Scholar. Each person has their own unique personality that compliments the group dynamic. I hope to stay friends with these Sun Devils when we return to Arizona. Moreover, I look forward to my ongoing exploration of Washington D.C and all of the things to do in this city. This city is the treasure trove to my hobbies and passions. I love museums and monuments, so the audience can tell that this will be a great two months of exciting site seeing. The plan is to see every single Smithsonian museum before I head back to Arizona.

            The ability to say what I have learned this week will be the hardest question to answer since I have learned so much in a span of just one week. From simple things like learning how to use a metro system, to which Founding Father adorns the ceiling of the Supreme Court, there is so much to say! I learned that Washington is a place where everyone is trying to rise the latter of government and potentially become a powerful bureaucrat or politician. Obviously that does not hold true for every person in Washington, but it is a nitty gritty city that is in constant flux with spontaneous moments occurring everywhere. Wearing a suit in public can potentially help you strike a conversation with a powerful person working on The Hill or a popular non-profit organization. Not only have I learned a lot about Washington D.C, but I have also learned a lot about myself. Coming from a very tight knit family, I was always treated as the baby in the family. Taking care of myself, buying everything I need, and getting to work with high profiled professionals has really threw me into a new persona and out of my comfort zone. I realized many things about myself that I did not know before. Also, I am not as introverted and shy as I thought I was. I have talked to more people in a span of a week than I have in two years of college. This makes me even more excited for the weeks to come!

-Alex Bernard

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