Midwest to East Coast: My first few weeks in Washington, DC

By Emma Kate Sowder| September 20, 2019

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Fall for Midwesterners is, in essence, football season. Especially going to Ohio State University, a school that lives, sleeps, eats, breathes the OSU Football Program. Growing up, I was always in Scarlet and Gray on Saturday and would be woken up in the morning “Hang on Sloopy” blasting throughout my childhood home. Going to college at Ohio State this trend was intensified. Everything revolves around football in the fall and missing even one game is a tragedy.

Me (left) and my roommate (right) at an OSU Football game in 2017
Ohio Stadium, 2018                        

That being said, coming to Washington, DC the fall of my senior year, and last football season as a student was not an easy decision. I was intimidated by DC and nervous about coming here for several reasons, but I was also very sad about being away from the fall that I knew and loved.

Me in front of the Capitol, 2019
The building where I work

While every DC day has been humid like only the south can be and lacking the sounds of O-H-I-O echoing around a 200,000-person stadium, it has been worth every minute and every missed game. Each day my commute takes me past the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and the Capitol Building. I can see the Capitol from where I live on the hill in Washington Intern Student Housing (WISH).

WISH allows me, as an intern, to live in an extremely central and quality location. I’m only a few blocks from Union Station, in an amazing home, where I have all the amenities of an apartment rather than a small dorm.

I work a block away from The White House and alongside the world’s experts in foreign policy. On top of that, I get to meet people from across the world including Ambassadors, Consul Generals, and politicians. I get to go to work every day and research the policy that I am passionate about, rather than sitting through a boring lecture.

Views from my commute
Views from my commute

Being away from home is always hard. Sometimes I’ll miss home when I walk home from class or work and then I’ll find myself on a diagonal street. The Capitol Building will come into view and all those feelings drift away. Those are the moments when I’m reminded not only of how lucky I am to live and work in this city but how thankful I am that I decided to be here instead of playing it safe and staying at home.

That peek through moment, I’ll always be a Midwesterner at heart and you’ll never find me not glued to a TV on a Buckeye Saturday. But my first few weeks in DC have given me more practical experience than I could ever dream of and opened my eyes to the possibilities of my future career.

DC, you’re wearing on me.

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