Archive for January, 2015
How does a person prepare for a day full of 14 hours of travel? I never got the answer before having to attempt a day of that magnitude myself.
Hanging out in train or airplane terminals is no fun, but they are a lot better places to spend your time than trains or airplanes. Eating out of boredom, exploring the limited space you have, and making use of free WiFi are all good options when still on the ground, but your choices become severely limited when trapped in a single seat with no free WiFi to make use of.
A person like me can hardly sit still for five hours with no break, let alone do just one activity. So to help kill time on the flight home, I split the trip into different parts. I started the long sit home with a little doodling. Hardly a day passes without me drawing at least one picture; it helps me focus on the task at hand rather than the ticking clock. I followed my drawing with a good hour of solitaire on my tablet. At this point the trip was only half over, so I switched over to reading a book on my tablet. Reading successfully got me sleepy, so I napped the last hour of the flight away.
In all the time flying, riding trains, and waiting in different terminals, I successfully listened through seven different albums released in 2014. Other than completing a collection of mediocre doodles and fine-tuning my solitaire skills, I can be grateful to our long day of travel for helping me decide on my personal reviews for some of the best albums to come out within the last year.
As I write this, I am finally back home, after a hot shower and a good meal. My blisters are finally healing, and my sore knee can finally mend. After our 126 miles this jan term (thanks for counting the miles Sam!) my new shoes walked through the first layer of tread, and the leather is already cracking. Being back in the Northwest truly gave me a great perspective on how full and meaningful this trip was. I am exhausted mentally, physically, and financially. Now I raise my head up and look forward into spring semester.
Hopping onto the Subway is an art form, a mastered craft of the most dedicated and experienced locals. In Washington D.C. the subway system requires a much more refined knowledge of train lines, not just north or south. We were tested a number of times as a group, our knowledge of the subway landscape, and a few times it got the best of us.
On our way to one of the last meetings of our trip, our busiest day in D.C. beginning with a meeting with Brian Lamb at C-Span and then Paula Kerger with PBS we were required to hop on the train to get off at Union Station. The red line had two directions and our fearless leader Jim had done quite well in NY knowing which subway to get on and off, allowed us to get ahead of him while he waited for Marty and Andrew telling the rest of the group to get on the train towards Shady Grove. The group got to the station at the Metro Center while I stopped to fill my ticket card. Just as I had finished I was walking down the escalator while looking on my phone as the train was about to close their doors! So I put my phone in my pocket and booked it down the escalator barreling through bags in my way and jumping sideways through the closing doors of the subway to make it, barely. I laughed a large sigh of relief that I had made it. An Indian gentleman was sitting in the seat facing the door and watched me as I searched my pocket for my phone. I had felt a little lighter as I entered the train but now that it had left the platform my heart began to race. The man now staring at me said to me very calmly, “Your phone fell out.” His words hit me like bricks. I was so upset that I had dropped my phone but hoped that it would still be on the platform if I were to get off at the next station and retrace my steps. What he said next chilled me to the bone. “No sir, it fell through the crack.” His face and voice had an unusually tame presence but knew that if he was right, then my phone was surely obliterated by the train. I sulked in my seat now devastated to have lost my phone to make a stupid train. Stuck in my wallow of sadness, a bystander to the whole situation intervened with music to my ears. She said, “Oh your phone fell through the crack? Don’t worry, it’ll still be there. I’ve seen plenty of people drop stuff down there, just ask the info desk they can get it!” I jumped from my seat, renewed with optimism that my phone quite possibly could’ve survived such dreadful circumstances. After getting off at the next stop and reversing track, my friend Jordan and I went back to the other side of the platform to find that indeed my phone had survived and was waiting for its ungrateful owner to rescue it from the train tracks. I held Jordan’s legs as he leaned over the edge of the platform and with his long arms managed to grab it before another train could come. I was so relieved. The only damage to the phone after the entire ordeal had been a long crack extending horizontally across the phone, but managed to retain all of its functions. I didn’t know what to call my experience that morning, can you really call it luck?
Throughout the course of this trip I have learned many things, both about myself and about the professional world. I came into the trip not with a strong idea of what I wanted to do, but a somewhat-planned out desire to do non-profit work after graduation. After experiencing all of the meetings we were able to be a part of, however, my eyes have been opened to the vast possibilities of different careers and positions that I never even knew existed including assignment coordinators working at Getty Images, or the communications director for a tourism company. After this trip, I am confused about what I would like to do as a career…but I am also more excited and motivated to figure it out than I’ve ever been. Even though I don’t have a specific career path that I am ready to dive into and devote everything to, I now have the passion and desire to work hard and find internships that will expose me to various parts of the professional world. I will be doing an internship in the spring, and I am very exicited to put my all into it and utilize some of the advice that we learned in some of our meetings. For example, I am going to work as hard as I can to present myself as eager and professional and I will always do my best work. After this trip, I am comforted by the stories and career paths that many of the professionals we met with have taken. Many of them started out by doing entry-level positions or internships until they found what they were truly passionate about, and I am more excited than ever to start my own professional journey. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to go on this trip, and I will take what I have learned with me into my last semester of college and beyond.
Our trip has come to an end, but we’ve still got the memories we made and the pictures we took. Here is a chance to relive the experience through my eyes. Enjoy!
On the shuttle to our New York hostel
First piece of pizza in NYC
Exploring the MET
MLBAM headquarters, and the room where all challenges in the MLB are reviewed
Grand Central Station
The Seinfeld Restaurant
One World Trade Center
Barclays Center for the Nets vs. Grizzlies
The sea lions at the Central Park Zoo
Central Park and the NYC skyline
Hanging with my boy Ted in the Museum of Natural History
Taken from the sixth floor at the Newseum in DC
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery
A moment of nostalgia at the PBS headquarters
No description needed
Ended the trip at the Washington Auto Show. This is the BMW i8. As if this trip hadn’t been motivating enough already…
Despite being sick and sleeping for what felt like an eternity last night, I dragged myself out of bed today to make sure I went to the Library of Congress. I had gone about seven years ago the last time I was in D.C., but I had only gone in the Jefferson building and looked at the reading room from the observation deck. On this occasion, I went through the process of getting a library card so I could venture down to where the books were.
My first impression of the place was that it was incredibly distracting. It took a great deal of focus to stop staring at the ornate sculpture and craftsmanship portrayed through the statues and walls, and actually go look through the books. Once I finally walked to the shelves and climbed to the second level, I found Max had already zeroed in on the sports books and he waved me over. While I found them intriguing, I ended up stumbling upon a few books of compiled letters written by George Washington from the time he was appointed commander of the revolutionary forces to the time the war was over. I pulled it from the shelf and joined Andrew downstairs to read the first 20 pages or so. I found it difficult to believe I was actually able to pick up a compiled book off an ordinary shelf in this place containing such intimate details of our first president. It just struck me as incredibly cool. If knowledge had a smell, it would be the smell of that reading room.
As I made my way through the rest of the shelves to see what else the library had to offer, I started to feel confident if I had a question about anything I could find the answer in a book on these shelves. That impression was supported even further when I realized there were doors on the sides of the rotunda leading to further rows of shelves with even more books. At the very back of one of them, I found the compiled records from every session of congress. They were detailed too. Each book was published in a series of volumes and contained a couple thousand pages of bills and debates. While I use it was kept for the purpose of record, I can’t imagine those volumes get broken open too often.
While I feel proud to say my country has the largest library in the world, I also can’t help but feel sad about the fact it only gets used to a fraction of its potential when it comes to the general public. While the library processes hundreds of thousands of reference requests from congress each year, the process of accessing the library itself through both the obtainment of a card and the distance most citizens have to travel in order to get there makes for relatively few in the grand scheme of things who have access. Regardless, if one does take the time to get to D.C., obtain a library card and maneuver their way through the corridors underneath the building, it is well worth it to search the shelves, pick out a book on nothing in particular, find a desk and just read.
We all probably know the old adage: “Kindness goes a long way”. After this trip to NYC and DC, I can tell you that this is true.
We met with Paula Kerger, the president of PBS, Brian Lamb, the founder and former CEO of CSPAN, and Rosie Kasica, the senior producer of Nancy Grace, among many others. These people have no business meeting with 11 college kids, but the story was the same throughout; they were all extremely friendly.
No doubt that is a large reason why they have been so successful, and they confirmed that in our meetings. I have always valued kindness, but thought of the corporate world as a mean, “dog eat dog” kind of atmosphere. I am pleased to say that I was wrong.
Much to my pleasant surprise, these VIP’s shared with us their paths to success. All three had the same thing to say about the importance of kindness and charisma. To paraphrase, it seems that people are less concerned about what you have done or where you have been than they are about how you treat them and where you are going to be.
I have left this Jan term experience very confident, knowing that a positive attitude and charismatic personality can get one far in life. I am looking forward to entering the “working world” more than ever, and I can’t wait to see firsthand the power of treating others well.