Sunday, September 7, 2014

We’re Not in Claremont Anymore

Group selfie with almost everyone!

Hello everyone! My name is Maresa Carnevale and I am a junior at Claremont McKenna.

I’ve officially been in DC for a whole week now and it has definitely been a whirlwind experience so far. My roommates and I went for an unconventional option and rented our apartment through airbnb, which has had its share of perks and quirks. When we arrived at our apartment on Monday we realized immediately that we did not feel safe in the area and wanted to leave. With lots of help from Dr. Spalding and an 8 hour ongoing conversation with Leo from airbnb customer service we were able to relocate to another apartment the next day. So although our first day was far from ideal everything worked out in the end! We now live in Adams Morgan right by the Smithsonian Zoo, which is super convenient for a baby animal de-stress.

Orientation week has been great for adjusting to living in the city and trying out the Metro for the first time. On Tuesday, the first day of Orientation, we made our first trek over to the CMC office. After an introductory session with Dr. Spalding we sat down for lunch with Professor Wolfson, another one of our professors for the semester.

On Wednesday we focused on journalism, beginning with a presentation by Michael Shear, a CMC alum and White House correspondent for The New York Times. Michael was a very enthusiastic presenter and offered a fascinating insight into the evolving world of the press. After lunch the whole group made it over to the Newseum, where Dr. Spalding managed to get some free tickets. Although much of the subject matter was quite serious, the exhibits offer a captivating look at the history of journalism and the stories that have been by the press.

We began our Thursday with a tour of the Supreme Court and a panel with two law clerks who are working with Justice Scalia. As we were exiting a conference room we even caught a glimpse of Justice Scalia himself, although no one managed to snap a picture! Later on we made our way over to the American Enterprise Institute for lunch with program alum Anna Eames and AEI scholars Karlyn Bowman and Alex Brill, who spoke of the research and think tank side of policy in DC.

On Friday we were able to tour the Capitol with program alum, Alyssa Roberts, before meeting with Mike Franc, the Policy Director for the House Majority Leader. Although we were all exhausted by this point, he managed to hold our interest with his descriptions of work life on Capitol Hill.

Denys, me and Jincy

Overall, Orientation week was a great experience and allowed all of us to get to know the city and glimpse the political scene. The program alumni have been a great resource so far in Washington and it’s great to see so many Claremont connections all the way in the nation’s capital. However, with all of the walking around I really have to advise to invest in some comfortable shoes, your feet will thank you for it!

View from the balcony at the Capitol

My roommates and I have had a great time exploring our neighborhood and making our apartment feel more like a home. Although our cabinets are currently stuffed with food from this week’s Target trips, we are still struggling with the temptation to survive solely on Easy Mac. There are plenty of great restaurants around and we’re all hoping to use this time to improve our cooking skills!

We're almost real adults

Dr. Spalding has encouraged everyone to try to do at least one interesting thing a week in order to see all of the great sights in the city, so my Jincy, Denys and I decided to walk to the Zoo before our first day of work. Walking around the Zoo was a great end to our hectic first week and I can’t think of a better way to end this blog post than with lion cubs and pandas.

Me after orientation week

Until next time!

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