If you are not networking in D.C, you are doing it wrong. Networking and making connections is the norm here and there are even special events in the city where all you do is network. At the American Enterprise Institute, networking is the absolute norm. Even week, there is a happy hour special on the rooftop after the weekly intern meeting. I am not 21 years old, however, I still attend the social to meet scholars, administrators, and research assistance that work for specific scholars. So far, networking has been good and I have tried every possible way to give my card to people and ask for the cards of people. Even at the volunteer events for the Folklife Festival, I asked for the card of the other volunteers working with us, knowing they were ASU alumni and have respective positions in the government. So in general, networking has been quite good for me and I hope I get the chance to do more of it being that we only have less than a month left here in this amazing city.
I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but respectfully I believe I have always been decent at networking and I have always believed that networking was a skill I have had an easy time with. I love talking to people, especially new people. Everyone is shy to an extent, but I have always had the ability to go through their personal introverted barrier and really get to know them enough to where they would want to exchange cards and information. I think networking is all about being yourself but also making the conscious effort to sell yourself while also letting the other person explain themselves. Basically, the conversation just needs to be calm and if you try to force the conversation to keep going (as I noted in the last blog post) the conversation will not go anywhere, with the other conservator seeing right through your failed overly-exaggerated effort. The point is to not be artificial, and be honest with why you are special and what fun things you are doing. Someone can’t lie about being special, we are all special in some way and we all have something interesting going on. Heck, we’re in D.C for a reason and we were accepted into a prestigious university program with a great internship, how are you not special? All in all, my networking experience personally has been quite smooth, however, I really need to make the conscious effort to go to even more networking events. Being here in the extravagant city, you always feel like you are not doing enough because there is so much going on. My goal is to not miss out on these amazing opportunities.
Aside from the professional jargon, we went to Mt. Vernon last weekend and it was so beautiful. To start off, the town we were leaving from was beautiful and very modern looking. Towns that look like Tyson Corner and Vienna are interesting because we are here in the historic colonial east coast, yet these towns are so modern and innovative-looking. I digress, the entire day was great. The boat ride was relaxing and gorgeous with the beautiful million dollar houses in the backdrop. Washington’s house was beautiful and I have a huge bias towards colonial-style houses over west coast style houses. The history was beautiful, and even though there were many different areas where slaves were kept and worked, I saw it as a historic lesson and it is important to show the public this area of history that will always be the past of the United States.
One thing I have learned since my last blog post is which part of D.C are not the best in terms of economic and social progress. I have always been warned about the areas not to go to, but after exploring the city and getting more use to the city while becoming a Washingtonian at heart, I have a more specific and strategic mindset on where is bad and where is safe. Usually, anywhere past Greenbelt (Green line) to the east is not an area you should mess around with. The more east you go, the worse it gets. When the tram is heading to Branch Ave, that is when you start to see people heading the same way but who are not people you would like to associate yourself with. The point is, stay safe, know your area, keep looking straight with your shoulders up and back straight and always keep walking. Other than that, I have a month here left and I am enjoying every single moment of this professional, personal, and academic adventure.