From previous UCDC students and co-workers I heard that there was a snowstorm for over a week in the Winter of 2016. I could not help but get excited to experience my first snowstorm and potential snow days stuck at home. To the dismay of many students, this year’s “winter” passed by, just having teased the district with one day of snowfall. With this one day of snowfall, the government did have a partial snow day and I did get to go into work 2 hours later. It was pretty exciting to walk to work through piles of snow and take in the sights of frosted buildings.
Due to the snow storm on the east coast, many flights had been cancelled. As a result, many Silicon Valley CEOs could not attend a Silicon Valley Leadership Group meeting at Microsoft. The hosting organization extended an invitation to UCDC students and I was lucky to get a spot. It was an amazing networking opportunity where I heard Cory Booker and Nancy Pelosi speak, enjoyed a delicious dinner, and met various public officials as well as industry leaders. The event highlighted the importance of the role of technology in the government and how members of Congress and Silicon Valley are advocating for its role.
As an intern in the Department of State, I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 International Women of Courage Award Ceremony at the end of March. The event was hosted by First Lady Melania Trump and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon. One awardee’s story made quite an impression on me. Unlike other awardees, she was not present to receive her award because she was imprisoned for criticizing the government and exposing the dumping of toxic chemicals. Young women, like myself, were not only brave in the face of unthinkable adversity but advocating to rid their environment of this injustice. It was inspiring to hear their stories and how they chose to react to inequality and challenge in their life.
Since arriving, I felt occupied with adjusting to the city and balancing classes and work; although I was in DC for months I did not get to travel much. Towards the end of our program, my friend Amanda and I decided to make a weekend trip to NYC. We attended a Broadway show, The Book of Mormon, walked around Central Park, and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Our trip was mainly a food tour of trending NYC eateries (e.g. Momofuku Ssam Bar, Bibble and Sip) and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
My last day of work came too soon and I was sad that I may never work with my team again. Each and every co-worker was so welcoming to me from the start and we had such playful yet professional interactions. DC was the first time I had not lived in California for an extended period of time. It was also the first time I had moved to another city without knowing a single person. I learned a lot about how I get to know others, react to being outside my comfort zone, and balance work and school. I felt sentimental leaving DC and the people that had become a part of my daily life; it was the end of a chapter. Although a part of me did not want it to end, I still am grateful it happened and know another adventure awaits.