I truly cannot fathom that my time in D.C. has come to an end. What an incredible semester! As I reflect on the past four months, I fundamentally believe I have changed so much. I have learned so much more about what I hope to pursue in the future, and the steps I need to get there. I have learned how exciting and difficult it can be to live with others, and how to engage in conflict management. I believe I have grown significantly, and my approach to life and understanding others has changed significantly. It is often difficult to do this when stuck in a routine or similar circumstance for a long time, and I had not realized how essential it was for me to leave my home and Houston to have these epiphanies.
Although this semester ended so quickly, and I still have so much to cross off on my bucket list for D.C., I am so thankful that I was able to have the opportunity to engage in this experience. It was incredibly beneficial for me to have a change of pace and a change of scenery this semester, after staying in Houston for the past year. D.C. is such a beautiful city, and although I did not get to experience the conventional pace of life for my duration, now that I am reflecting in Houston, it feels like a dream to know that I was a walking distance from the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol, and the White House, to name a few. I can’t wait to revisit D.C. in normal circumstances, although my unconventional experience made it so much more memorable.
I’m writing this month’s blog post back in Houston heat, missing the days of snow and how we used to complain about how it could possibly still be this cold in April. Our last month in D.C. felt far too short. I kicked off April with the last week of my internship, which was also the most stressful, and left the SEC feeling accomplished. I learned so much working with CorpFin and was sad to leave. Luckily, I had the last two weeks of April to explore the city: I ate at all my favorite places, walked to the monuments frequently, and used every day as a motivational reminder to one day return when more things have opened back up. The last day we were fortunate enough to have a guided tour of the Pentagon, which was easily a highlight of the semester.
Now, back at home, D.C. feels very far away but I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life and I am so thankful to have been chosen to participate. I have grown so much both professionally and personally and look forward to seeing how this semester influences the rest of my life. A global pandemic, insurrection, and political tension couldn’t stop us! I will always look back on this time as one of good food, great company, and endless learning opportunities. Thank you to everyone involved in running the program, and I look forward to joining all the alumni in the future!
As my fellowship winded down, I felt a sense of sadness that this amazing experience was coming to an end. However, this realization that I only had a couple of weeks left in D.C. also pushed me to seize every day and enjoy as much as I could in the time I had left. I proceeded to make the most out of the last two weeks of my internship and slowly check off the list of the things I wanted to do during my stay in the nation’s capital.
During the last days of my internship, as I diligently worked to finalize the details of my long-term project, I reflected on the various experiences it gave me. From being invited to international conferences on topics like financing universal health care to contributing to the development of national responses to WHO reports. One of my fondest memories will be the virtual farewell meeting that my office hosted for myself and the other team members who were also leaving. I couldn’t stop smiling as one of my mentors read a faux resolution as a tribute to my work, filled with inside jokes and praise.
Outside of work, I filled my calendar up by running around the city. I started the month off by wandering around the Washington National Cathedral at sunset then trying Uyghur food in Cleveland Park with my roommate. That same weekend I challenged myself to a fantastic hike in Rock Creek Park. Later, as some museums began to open, I visited the National Building Museum at Judiciary Square and the Phillips Collection near Dupont Circle. We also had the opportunity to enjoy a sunset picnic on the National Mall with a Bauer in D.C. alum. However, one of my favorite memories had to be exploring the Franciscan Monastery near the Catholic University of America. The architecture was fascinating and surrounding nature stunning. I wish I had more time to soak in the city and see it at its fullest, but I will always cherish the memories I made there.
After four months of fun, my Bauer in D.C. experience has ended. I will forever be grateful to Bauer for making this possible. Working and living in D.C. was a transformative experience, I left the city as a new, better version of myself.
During my last month, I was determined to visit the few places I had left on my bucket list. I went to a couple museums, toured the pentagon, did a hike in Virginia, had sunset picnics and tried many restaurants. I fell in love with the city a little more in every outing.
As for my internship at IEDC, I am wrapping up my projects but will continue to work remotely from Houston for a few more weeks. This internship has given me the opportunity to contribute to projects related to entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion, and environmental justice, subjects I am very passionate about. I have acquired knowledge and connections that will help me the rest of my career.
Leaving the city that was my home for four months was extremely sad. Thankfully, I have plans to return soon. I have secured a summer internship at Guidehouse, a consulting firm in D.C. I am excited to go back and continue to be a Bauer ambassador in the capital of our nation!
As April brought our final month in the nation’s capital my level of urgency to participate further in my internship, go out in the city, and complete more of my goals kicked in. My personality is built around developing a sense of urgency around almost everything I do. From how I walked from our tremendous apartment to the metro station, my fixed schedule of working out nightly, or even the level of intensity I brought to projects assigned to me during my internship.
Now that it was April and my time in D.C. was winding down, it really just expanded this personality trait of mine. Another interesting development April brought was the start of Ramadan. It was my first time participating in this month outside of Houston and definitely brought certain obstacles to my daily routine. My sleep schedule got wrecked, I wasn’t able to eat on the timings I utilized the previous three months, and the obvious levels of fatigue set in. However, I wouldn’t allow these obstacles to limit my experiences to close out my time in D.C. as I wouldn’t let it slow me down in Houston.
Looking back on the program now, I do wish I had another month in the capital. I wish our experience there wasn’t affected by the Coronavirus. I wish there wasn’t a looming national security threat on our doorstep. These were just some of the many obscure circumstances that affected our cohort’s time as Bauer in D.C. Fellows. I am proud to say we took our situation in stride and definitely made the most of the hand we were dealt. Personally, I met a couple great alumni, made great network connections at my internship, and most importantly, learned so much I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. This program was such a great opportunity and I can’t wait to bring everything I learned back home with me!
And just like that, I’m back in the Lone Star State. Four months flew by faster than I could have imagined. Reminiscing, it feels like only a few weeks ago that I was having a snowball fight with my roommates, only now to be rudely greeted by the oppressive Texas heat (did not miss that).
April was the most exciting month in my Bauer in D.C. experience. I published my first article through my internship, successfully defended my senior honors thesis, and experienced a true spring season. One of my most fond memories of April was taking long, leisurely walks around the Capitol Hill neighborhood, practically absorbing all of the blooming flowers, trees, and bushes.
Reflecting on the whole experience, there is one spot that shines the brightest. In January, I was afraid I would be forced to confront the uncomfortable reality of sacrificing my personal values for employment. I thought that working in politics would force me into a conflict of interests between my own morals and career advancement. That reality never came. I was able to work for my values, sparking a form of motivation I had yet to experience. This is without a doubt the most impactful experience I gained during my stay in Washington, D.C. and something I will strive to continue in my career.