"You go to L.A. for fame, go to NYC for money, go to D.C. for power" were the first words of advice (or maybe warning) I heard at my internship site from a coworker, who is a D.C. local. I'm not feeling especially power-hungry today, but I can see where he was coming from with his assessment of the city. Everyone networks here. Everyone wants to know who you are, what you do, and to build a connection with you that might be useful for future opportunities. Business cards... business cards everywhere! And people on bikes. They're everywhere too. But yeah. So my first impressions of D.C. are that it's pretty small as far as big cities go; again, people are on bikes because most places aren't more than a few miles - at most, 10 - apart. People are friendly and typically dressed professionally (which makes sense given the city they're in), it's pretty humid and rains quite a bit, and you can't throw a rock without hitting a memorial or monument of some sort. On that note, I toured the National Mall with an RSU alumnus last Friday, who prefers not to be named but simply referred to here as "Batman." So Batman and I biked around and dodged tourists while seeing some of America's greatest memorials and monuments. The architecture and design of some of the memorials is breathtaking. I'm part of a civic engagement project that will be working with veterans and involve visiting the monuments, so that's cool and should be pretty fun. The Department of the Interior, where I'm interning, is across the street from the National Mall. It makes it easy if I want to go sightseeing after work, but I've already developed a distinct dislike of some tourists. They are everywhere and a select few of them are terrible. Honestly, I've never visited a new city or country and wandered into the streets while looking down at a map, dragging along a family of five, and backing traffic up for three blocks as I stand there absolutely clueless. True story. So the location has its ups and downs. One of the few days I've ridden my bike to and from work (biking in the rain really ruins any chance my hair has of not looking like Mufasa when I get into the office), I stopped after work to check out some monuments and had to pull out a map to figure out how to get back home.
My Noble Steed for the Summer Term
Another cyclist stopped to help me out, and we started talking about what we both were doing in D.C., which is what everyone in the city does. I talked in length about my internship and RSU, and the cyclist told me that he worked on K Street with an international trade company. He was quiet and helpful, pointing me in the right direction. We traded business cards and I went on my way. After I got back, I Google-searched the company (of course). The man was the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. It was like figuring out that I'd met Tony Stark on the street and just thought he was a mechanic. Feeling like a total dweeb, I took it to heart to make the best impression I can with every person I swap business cards with whilst here. Who knows, maybe I'll run into Clark Kent next week? Until then, I'll network and marathon Dr. Who with Batman.