carpe D.C.

Posted on Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017

I guess you could call me an extrovert - I love being around people. However, it takes me a long time to feel comfortable enough in a new environment to act like myself. Like a LONG time. It wasn't until the end of my third semester in college that people began to realize that I am actually kind of funny. Usually, I am content doing my own thing and keeping to myself until I feel comfortable cracking jokes, asserting myself, or getting a little vulnerable by putting my own ideas out there, and usually, that's fine.

But, this D.C. experience is only 10 weeks long. I don't have time to figure everything out. I don't have the luxury of gradually forming organic relationships with my colleagues or roommates. This summer is a sprint, and I have to take advantage of every moment, because before I know it, I will be back in my comfort zone, good 'ole College Station. So I have decided to get over my little irrational insecurities, stop questioning myself, and become as proactive as possible - both at work, and on the weekends. Here are a few heuristics I have created for myself to guarantee that I will get the most out of my experience this summer:

1. Remember everyone that you meet: Whether they are someone that you met in passing at the office, sat down to coffee with, or a fellow A&M intern, do your best to remember who they are and what you talked about. I started keeping a list at my desk of every employee. Don’t use “I’m bad with names!” as an excuse. People will be impressed by your recall and remember you in return.

2. Your default answer should be “yes!”: If you are ever in doubt about whether or not you have the energy to go to an optional lecture series after work, or think you are too tired to go try some crazy Peruvian-Chinese fusion food with your roommates…think again. Usually, I am an advocate against FOMO, but who knows when you will have these kinds of opportunities again. Every day in DC has the chance to be your favorite one yet, so say “yes”.

3. When none present themselves to you, create your own opportunities: Don’t have anything to do at work? Don’t just look at Facebook on your phone under your desk - research that legislation that your boss mentioned in that meeting earlier. Don’t have any plans on a Saturday morning? Don’t just lay in bed watching Netflix, find something to do! It is impossible to run out of fun, interesting things to do/eat/see here, and I can guarantee you that NONE of them are offered in the Brazos Valley area.

Hannah Walsh
Department of Energy - Office of Human Capital
Washington, D.C. | summer 2017