So far in my Capital Scholars journey, my main lessons have been professional ones. Namely, they have been etiquette and behavior things that people should be aware of while in a professional setting like a federal government workplace. These lessons included learning how to network, making subtle gestures to make sure you paint yourself in a positive light within your organization, and learning to manage and coordinate your workload with your boss’s. These principles have help guide me to be very successful with my internship at HHS, and I could not be more satisfied with HHS OIG’s mission and the high caliber people that work there. Outside of the professional space, I have grown a lot too. I have grown not only with my Capital Scholars colleagues, but also going out on casual lunches and happy hours with other people on the team that I work with at HHS. That being said, the best part of this trip has been the time spent with all of the ASU students in this program. Everyone here has their own ambitions and dreams, and it was a really good time for each of us to support each other while having fun at the same time. I have learned the importance of keeping that balance between pursuing your own goals while at the same time making sure that those goals don’t make you narrow minded and lose sight of what is in front of you.
One other big thing I have learned from DC and the east coast in general is the culture. I think I am completely accustomed with this east side culture of always being in a hurry. One time while I was at CVS, there was a person in front of me who was walking really slowly, so I walked past him. I could tell he was slightly irritated, and he proceeded to ask me if I was from New York (I was born there actually, but was raised in AZ for the most part). On the metro, I actually get pretty irritated with people on the left side of the escalator are too slow or block the way, especially those other huge student study abroad tours that hog the whole metro and escalator. I am accustomed to squishing myself into spaces now that I never thought I would have fit in before thanks to metro, and usually literally stand right behind people and make sure to breathe a couple decibels louder so the person in front knows of my presence and is prepared to yield while I walk forward (I take this seriously).
Overall, the most important lesson I have learned is to make each human connection you make a serious one. A connection does not even have to start with a conversation, just a simple smile. So far, the most important connections I have made are with colleagues and supervisors in my job, and the ASU Capital Scholars family.