Today was the first day of the William & Mary Washington Winter Program, which to me meant it was the first day in two weeks I actually had to wake up when my alarm rang. Winter Break, for the most part, is now over for us in the program.
My commute into DC was familiar but I was definitely rusty navigating myself around the metro system. I arrived to the DuPont Circle metro station, just a five minute walk from William & Mary’s DC office, a full hour early. To my luck, while walking to the nearest Starbucks I ran into two friends also in the program. They were meeting up with a mutual friend of ours, an alumna Maddy Smith (’13) who now works for the nearby Brookings Institute, so I decided to kill some time by joining them for a cup of tea.
The William & Mary DC office is in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Building on Massachusetts Avenue. After arriving to the office we were given lunch, some William & Mary DC office swag, and our schedule for the next week. The schedule includes both mandatory and optional events. As far as the mandatory events go, I am especially excited for the meetings we have planned with Senator Kaine, Congressman Wolf, EPA officials, and although I am a little apprehensive for the Tea Party panel I would be lying if I told you I was not excited for that too. Some optional events include going to see a Capitol Steps show, dinners with DC professionals, a bus tour, and the 7th Annual Capitol Hill Networking Reception. I am especially excited for the latter because it will be a great opportunity to network with William & Mary alumni and maybe even get the chance to hang out with our college’s president, Taylor Reveley.
After explaining the plans for the next seven days, William & Mary’s DC Office Coordinator Adam Anthony proceeded to give us networking advice. He gave us tips on how to exchange business cards in order to follow up with the people we meet throughout the program. He gave us ideas for topics of conversation with alumni that included asking what dorm they lived in during their freshman year. I thought that his advice about disengaging in conversations especially helpful since I am prone to the awkward fade out when I don’t know how to end an important conversation.
Adam’s discussion on networking was a great transition into Professor Evan’s lecture on the purpose of this course. He explained that the purpose here was not to study theories and facts about American policy, which is something that you can do in any Government class on campus. However, the purpose is to learn about how things really work in DC or in Evan’s own terms “demystifying the process”. This will be a chance for us to begin to understand how the mysterious world of DC works before being thrown into it after leaving the comforting halls of William & Mary.
Our first venture into the DC world was a tour of the Supreme Court building where we met our first William & Mary alumnus, Chief Justice John Marshall. Well, obviously, we were a little too late to meet the class of 1780 Law School alumnus and only saw his statue and various portraits. However, we did meet alumna Erin Huckle (’08) who works in the Curator’s Office at the Supreme Court. Erin gave us a fantastic tour of the Supreme Court where she showed us the court room and also the Supreme Court library which were both beautiful rooms.
Overall, it was a great first day and I cannot wait for what else they have planned for us in the upcoming week. Tomorrow morning, if the snow doesn’t shut down the metro or the government, we will meet for a private tour of the National Archives.