This is part one of a four part series that chronicles three major tenets of my personal (non-academic) experience
The experience in DC could have been mimicked anywhere else. TWC creates interesting courses, the program is organized and the opportunities to see the nation’s capital city were great additives. However, this was only part of the appeal. The only factor that resulted in making this experience special for me was my own initiative. I remember the first day, during the intern orientation. We were told that we should definitely only use our apartments for, well, sleeping.
I couldn’t agree more.
For me, this experience provided me a sense of mental silence from the very, very, emotionally loud environment that I, and most other twentysomethings, “hear.” We’re thrown in so many directions. “You should look into this,” and, “Oh, I know the perfect next step for you,” and oddly enough, “So, what are you going to do with that?!” if our majors don’t sound trade or career trajectory oriented. Students need the opportunity to hear themselves. If only this could be silenced so that the unsure, such as myself, can learn to listen to themselves.
I’ve never been completely alone in making any major decisions. This seems to be a recurring theme in my previous blogs, this lack of “adult” experience, but it’s because it’s true.
I’ve been protected.
Several of my friends hold outside jobs while in school. Thanks to scholarships, etc., this wasn’t a necessity exactly for me. I wanted this faux independent experience.
In DC, it has been a little different. I’ve had the late nights, late papers, neglected cell phone, Facebook, work and mental fatigue and moments when I just didn’t get time to finish things. I had to decide to either sleep or be sleepy when I needed to work. Working from 9-5:30 with evening classes once a week, and a million seminars, it gets a little tough. I’ve never really experienced challenges when time use was a factor in the challenge if you exclude standardized testing. It has always been the issue of me procrastinating because I’ve had so much time between assignments that I’d rather do something the morning of so that it stays fresh on the mind. During this program, you have to do it now or else it’ll be a week late. It’s these sort of experiences, not to forget to mention the overnighters, that have allowed me a completely new perspective.
I’ve developed three new primary mantras. First, “Do it, for you, because you want to.” The second–I’ve learned it’s best to say, “I don’t know,” when referring to my future if I really don’t. Finally, I’ve learned that assuming anything is probably the number one error that students can make. So the last is, “Don’t assume anything.”