Since my arrival to Washington, DC for my internship with the National Science Foundation I have experienced a few things which have allowed me to grow as both a student and a person. For starters, my sponsored organization Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) has significantly helped me with professional development. For example, throughout the first week numerous speakers passed by the QEM Office and informed the interns and I on a wide range of topics from how to enhance my Linkedin profile with the help of Mr. Sullivan, become familiar with the different styles of research with Dr. Jared Avery, and learn about potential employment opportunities in non-profit organizations with Courtney Warren from The Pew Charitable Trust.
However, I have grown significantly more as person from the social intricacies I have debt with since arrival. Not only is DC a city with a faster paste than Miami but its people seems to be on a rush all the time which has proved difficult to me since I have been meaning to befriend locals. On a similar matter, it is my first time living in a dorm with roommates so it has been challenging adjusting to my new lifestyle. On the other hand, though all the interns have personalities very different than my own, they have all proven to be respectful and kind which has significantly reduced my stress level.
In the topic of stress, I am glad to inform you that have taken the initiative to explore the city and its wonders as walking soothes me. For example, on Thursday after work I decided to explore the national mall and ended up passing by the White House, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statue. My favorite of these sites was the Washington Monument as I achieved my bucket list goal of touching it and resting in its shadow. It felt surreal to be at the base of such a beautiful obelisk among other people and feel as if you are on top of the world. What a pity I will not be able to claim it till 2019 when maintenance will be complete.
As a matter of fact, I brought that topic up with a near by park ranger, and we spent a good 40 minutes talking about numerous things. His name is Paul and together we discussed the duties of the park servicemen, the DC-state debate, the interpretation of the US Constitution, and most importantly my views on life and working with people. I stated how my humble personality finds fulfillment in helping others, in the growing plants, and cherishing the smalls things of life such as having a pet, having dinner with family, and having fun in natural places such as the beach. I told Paul these topics were the mere contrast to what I have seen in DC, here everyone is eager to make themselves perfect, to compete, to brag, and to criticize. Then Paul told me something very important, "Young man, all you have to do is find that in which you find joy in and do it for a living." I did not know what to reply, I remained quite and lost in translation for a good 10 seconds till Paul said farewell as he headed out to perform his duties. After I expressed my sincere goodbyes, I decided it was good time for dinner and treated myself to a burger and milkshake from Burger Tap and Shake all the while being mindful of what Paul said.
Till this moment not a second goes by when I wonder where my life's journey will lead me. Will I find a fulfilling job? Will I lay roots in a town where my humbleness shines in virtue of all the simple and kind things in this world? I have yet to find and answers to these two questions but one thing is definitely certain in my heart and thoughts; That among all the QEM activities and NSF duties that are to come, I will cherish each moment and each task as they will undoubtedly form the stepping stones of my life as I walk forward with my humble mindfulness.