Now let me preface what I am about to express about The Washington Center; I think it is an incredible program, and it enables many students from different types of backgrounds to get real life experience, and I appreciate that. Also, my opinions about the program do not reflect on the people who work for TWC; they are very passionate and kind people. My opinions are my own feelings about the program. Just making sure this is out there.
However with that said, I think TWC is an entirely overbearing and at times pointless in the programming they make their students go through. They use a one-size-fits-all approach to what they require of their students. They have numerous benchmarks in different self-development goals that all students have to write, deadlines for extraneous projects, and a 15 hour time sucking civic engagement project.
Now I have no problem with civic engagement or self development. If you know me I am very involved in community service at Dickinson and I have a pretty good vision of my goals. Granted, not everyone has an idea of what they want to do, and some of this structure is good for them. However, we also have to take a class once a week, and on a specified day of the week (depends on the program they enroll you in) you have to LEAVE YOUR INTERNSHIP EARLY to go to something that may not apply to you at all.
In an internship based program, I think its pretty ridiculous that you have to miss your internship to go to programming. Its overbearing, and should have less requirements. On top of all this, Dickinson requires its students to do an independent study (research paper), which is totally understandable. This paper is my grade, not any TWC things. Thus, i feel that TWC is too structured; it has too many requirements. If I had known this fact, I may have thought twice before choosing DC over Italy. Again, this is my reflection on the program structure itself, not the internship or the people who run it.
On an unrelated note, people in this city do not know how to ride the metro (I want to say subway). I can't tell you how many times people don't know how to walk when the door opens. I've missed about 4 different trains so far at rush hour because of some riders not knowing how to get on/off a car. New Yorkers are better, so is our subway. Just sayin'. :p
On to my week...
On monday I had to leave work early for a career workshop (by TWC). Needless to say, the workshops were pretty useless. The person who talked about finding a job in the federal government talked about how to use USAJobs for about an hour. It was informative, but it doesn't help me get a job. It taught my how to use a job finder, which I am pretty sure I could have learned by an extra half hour on the site (which I am already familiar with). As you can tell, I am not a fan of most of the TWC mandated programming.
My week got better from there. I have been continue to work on UPU projects pertaining to the upcoming conference which starts tomorrow. I should have less UPU things to do until about early March, so you wont have to hear about it for a bit. I also have played a big part in preparing for the Advisory Committee on International Postal and Delivery Service in March, which is comprised of private sector postal group who give input on U.S. positions in the UPU. A meeting was posted in the Federal Register, Ill put a link up when I know it. My name is literally all over the announcement. It's pretty cool.
On Thursday I went to the U.S. Postal Service's headquarters. I met with the International affairs team with my boss for a meeting. It was a very official experience to be part of the meeting.
|USPS Headquarters in all its glory|
It might not sound like I am doing much, but I have also done a bunch of small things for everyone over the course of the week. Preparing for meetings and conferences are time-consuming, and require diligence. I am sure I'll get some juicy stuff soon enough. Its just amazing to be working on U.S. foreign policy.
Friday was the IO town hall in which the whole bureau filled the George Marshall auditorium (on the renovated half of the building) and video-chatted the mission in Geneva, Nairobi, London, Montreal and New York. There were not many questions asked but P (Undersecretary for Political Affairs, the division which the IO Bureau is in) came down and gave some remarks.
|Undersecretary Wendy Sherman|
I've also found my way around the Foggy Bottom area. I found some new lunch places and food trucks. I've had a craving for barbecue, and I need to fulfill it soon or I am going to go crazy. On top of that, I have found a bunch of new restaurants and places I enjoy going to. Sign of the Whale on 18th and M is a fantastic establishment, Ted's Bulletin by Eastern Market has a great brunch scene and has a 1920s style theme, and Zuppa Fresca by the TWC building in NoMA has excellent french toast. Eastern Market is also a fun place, it has a bunch of flea market shops and inside the building it has about 5 butchers and a fish market. I can't wait to go there in nicer weather. These are just a few places I am naming, but there is a lot of my list so far.
I've been taking in the D.C. culture and rolling up my sleeves. Where's the Mumbo sauce?