After having a lot of adventurous experiences with our internships and group excursions, it made sense to settle down a bit a give back to the DC community. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival was the perfect opportunity to have fun and give back at the same time. I was glad I took an Uber to the National mall instead of metro because some major stops were closed and the transportation authority had busses in place of the metro trains for transport, which was a nightmare. After getting to the mall, Guillermo and I immediately headed to the volunteer desk, and, for the first time in my life I was the first one to show up. The team leaders showed us all the ropes of managing a recycling and composting center, and they guided us into telling us in general what items were compost, recyclable, or landfill. I have seen many of these compost/recycle/landfill bins around ASU but never exactly understood what goes into each bin; I just assumed every piece of trash I had was to go into landfill. Now that I know, I can be more environmentally conscious of what things I throw away. The station that I was assigned was on the other side of the main circus and music events, so I did not have too many people coming to throw stuff away. I was also really humbled to be offered lunch “money” which was essentially looked like monopoly money but still usable for food tents at the festival. Since being in DC was a new experience, I wanted to continue that trend and ended up trying something new: quinoa salad. It was a lot better than I expected, and kept me full for the duration of the day. I thought that this volunteer event was really meaningful in that not only was I able to see other ASU alumni, but I was able to rep ASU in the iconic national mall to residents in the area. This is important to me because ASU still has a very strong party school reputation. This was evident from a recent student intern meet and greet where all interns at HHS met with each other and also talk to the Inspector General at HHS, The Honorable Daniel Levinson. Almost every person who I talked to mentioned how I must know how to party hard and put studies aside. Nothing could be further from the truth, but I have learned to just keep my head up and keep moving. ASU is a very large university, and there are graduates in almost every part of the country, and I am glad to keep representing the capital scholars at work!
This week, I have learned to always be humble and nice to everyone you meet. I am saying this because when I walk through the large government hallways inside the Cohen federal building, I always make sure to make a smile or at least a slight smile to whoever else is there. This ended up helping me in the past couple days as I ended up having to work with one of the people I briefly met in the hallway, and they recognized me from that brief occasion. Although this is a small lesson, I do think that every impression matters and can make a big difference in creating work relationships and portraying yourself and someone that other people want to work with. Overall, it’s been a great week, and I am looking forward to future capital scholar adventures!