Home Opinion The Trials and Times of a Semester in DC

The Trials and Times of a Semester in DC


by Devon Mitchell

Studying in Washington DC has been a dream of mine for five years, and now that I am only two weeks away from the conclusion of my Washington Semester, I can’t help but reflect on my time here and if it’s everything I dreamed of.

I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into when I began preparing last fall. I pored over internship applications and tried to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. Going into the DC semester I felt like a freshman again, adjusting to a new place and making new friends. I had romanticized my time, thinking I would go to museums every day, fall in love with the work I was doing at my internship, and enjoy learning in the nation’s capital. This experience would prepare me for my career in DC post-graduation. Truth be told, the opposite happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Washington DC. The architecture and history are things I have always loved, but over the past semester, I have found myself missing the mountains and air of living in the Roanoke Valley. I look out my window every day and see Capitol Hill, wondering why I put this city on a pedestal when the last thing I have ever wanted was to become a politician. There’s more to DC than just politics but it feels like everyone is in such a rush to climb the career ladder networking their way up. DC is fast, loud, and exciting. I’ve enjoyed the experience, but I long to scrape my knees trying out a new hike and get my hands dirty at a Habitat build.

I don’t want to discount the opportunities I’ve had. I found a way to combine my professional interests through my internship and gained incredible experiences. I’ve met new people and nourished relationships I know will last a long time. I was exposed to new music and got to see some of my favorite artists perform live. None of this would have been possible if it hadn’t been for this semester.

My time in DC has been enlightening and I look forward to applying my experiences in my unique ways. I’m sad to leave, but I can’t wait to get back to Roanoke.