Sunday, May 11, 2014

There are only three days left until the semester ends! It has been such an incredible experience and one which I will always cherish. Here are some final tips before the program finishes.

I concluded my internship last week and was lucky enough to have my parents visit me on the weekend. Although I’m taking a quick trip home in a week, it was wonderful to see them and take them on a tour of the White House before I left. In my last few weeks I was able to take on more responsibility and form closer relationships with some of my supervisors and the principals; I’m very glad my parents were able to meet some of the people for whom I’d developed such admiration.

West Wing tour with my family

In all honesty, I was extremely sad to end my internship. I have had such an amazing time there and built so many wonderful relationships, so the idea of no longer having the same access to that environment is upsetting. It is also very hard to leave a place where you can run into the Vice President in the hallway on one day and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the next!

I know that I speak for many of my fellow classmates when I say that in your short time here, you quickly begin to gain confidence in your work, form bonds that you would like to develop and build a life that you could foresee transforming into a permanent state. Thus, it is extremely important to maintain the connections you have made and further those relationships you found meaningful after you leave. The first tip I have for the conclusion of your internship is to stay in touch! Don’t bother your supervisors within the first week after leaving, but certainly reach out after a month. It is also always good to convey a purpose for contacting them – whether it be about  an application on which you’d like them to advise you or a news article regarding the fruition of program you contributed to while with the organization.

Although we are in DC and working full-time, this is still an academic program and we have final exams and papers. Having said that, here are some recommendations for managing the academic obligations at the end of the program.

First, both Sarah and I highly advise putting a sufficient amount of effort into your literature review. This work will make up almost half of your final research paper and will be a critical foundation for your research and conclusions. Not only does it guide your research, but it also can significantly lighten your workload if done well.

 Second, you should not leave your paper until the last couple of weeks. I know how busy and stressed you will be throughout the semester and this pressure will only increase as you get closer to the end. I was fortunate in that I had a few days in between the conclusion of my internship and the submission of my paper to devote to revising and editing, but many of my classmates were not so lucky.

Third, work with your classmates during the studying process and manage your time so you aren’t cramming the day before an exam. This is a general tip, applicable to any college course; however, it is especially important in this setting where you work full-time and likely won’t have the benefit of living next door to a classmate.

With that, I will leave you with some photos from my last weeks in the program. In addition to being one of my best college experiences, it truly has been one of the most memorable times of my life. I encourage you to make the most of your time here and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities this place has to offer – and don’t forget to document all your great experiences!

Volunteering at the Corcoran Ball

Going to hear oral argument at the Supreme Court (where I'll be working this summer)

Cherry blossoms

The White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn

The National Cathedral

Early Mother's Day brunch with my family at Blue Duck Tavern

Coming home from a wonderful dinner at Dr. Spalding's house

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