As the Fourth of July comes around each year, it never fails to be an interesting time of retrospection of the recent and distant past. It also serves as a time to think about all that is and isn’t moving forward in the United States. Frankly, the Fourth of July brings up mixed feelings. While the Fourth of July is nonetheless an important date in history, I can think of many more days, which better symbolize every reason, why I am proud to be an American. Something I find particularly interesting is that like many other holidays that symbolize an historic event, the Fourth of July misses the mark in terms of the celebration happening on what would be considered the official historic date. As stated by the Library of Congress (2017), the Declaration of Independence was not actually signed by the majority of delegates until July 19th,1776
I’ve never formed solid Fourth of July traditions and so there was nothing I felt was “missing” from the day. This year was exciting for many reasons; I was both in a new place and with new people. The day began with heading to the National Mall way too early. Me and a few other students meandered around the Smithsonian Folklife Festival before returning to Woodley Park for food and to hang out at WISH for a few more hours. As Monica and I were heading back to WISH from grabbing food, we came across one of her friends who she had met during her study abroad semester in Spain. Her friend was a local to the DC area and a recent graduate from American University. We spoke with him for a little while and he invited us to watch the fireworks from a rooftop near the National Mall. I was immediately intrigued by the idea of being away from the large crowds of the National Mall but still having the traditional DC, Fourth of July experience. I was actually given the recommendation to watch the fireworks from a rooftop from one of the ASU Alumni at our very first group dinner in DC so I was happy to be making it at reality. Monica and I parted ways with some of the other students and headed to a building just off Pennsylvania Avenue and up to the penthouse floor to get situated before the fireworks began. Soon after getting settled on the rooftop, the fireworks began. As much as I persisted that the crowds were just not worth seeing fireworks for, I was amazed how majestic they looked over the monuments. After the fireworks, we hung out while the crowd dispersed and eventually headed back to WISH on the metro.
This last week has been relaxing but went by in a whirlwind. Since the Fourth fell mid-week, I got a few extra days tacked on to my weekend. With this extra time, I realized how I let many of my responsibilities fall to the periphery. I really grasped how deeply I let the excitement and anxiety of being in DC, my internship, and fostering new relationships take precedent over things that are a part of my more regular life. This reality check was an indicator of how I need to alter my priorities especially when life makes these enormous shifts. What really set off this realization was how little I really have done to prepare for my cross-country move once the program is over. I will be attending graduate school in New York and with that comes quite a bit of change. Since receiving my acceptance letters, deciding my best option moving forward, and thanking my letter of recommendation writers as many times as possible, I’ve been overwhelmed with anticipation of what these next years will entail. I’ve gotten a great deal of support and advice from a variety of people about graduate school in general and also what life is like in New York. Despite all of the conversations I’ve been apart of and the hours spent fiercely searching for any and all information that I might find useful, I haven’t done much prepping for the transition. Now that this exciting life event is on the horizon, I really have to prioritize my responsibilities as a graduate student and smooth out my moving process. I felt like I’ve been doing a good job of balancing all that has come with being in DC and I need to translate that into my life moving forward.
Primary Documents in American History, Declaration of Independence. (2017, May 22). Retrieved July 06, 2017, fromhttps://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/DeclarInd.htm