Arisen My Senses

Posted on Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019

New environments spur reinvention

Are you looking for a change of pace, something to shake-up the monotony of the college experience? Have you ever wanted to satiate the need to change into a better version of yourself? If you answered yes, then you may need to move 1400 miles away from home and see if you can find yourself in some expensive, pretentious coffee shop. As you stare into the pastry case pondering if that 6-dollar blueberry scone is worth it, you may come to an epiphany about your purpose. Better yet you might even take the initiative to fully immerse yourself in the miasma of opportunity surrounding you within the nation’s capital. While my groundbreaking pastry catharsis has not happened yet, D.C. has given me the opportunity to discover who I truly am. If you couldn’t guess by the esoteric title, D.C. has had an unbelievable impact on not only my professional development but my development as a person. Now that I am at my most keen, I hope to impart some advice for others looking to hit the restart button. 
Be ready, Be ready to get confused
  • Moving to D.C. is a big adjustment and there is going to be some confusion during the transition. The thing that makes this transition so manageable is the ridiculously smooth way of navigating D.C. You will be an expert in how to use the metro and bus system in less than a week, opening up a vast terrain of new experiences just waiting to happen. The hardest thing to adjust to in D.C. will not be your new job, networking, or new relationships, it will be stopping your bank account from hemorrhaging money. You will undoubtedly wake up one morning, open you bank’s app and gasp at the damage you’ve done because of a Friday night out on the town. The best way to manage your money in D.C. is to just be cognizant of your spending, go grocery shopping regularly, and most importantly meal prep. Meal prepping will save you so much time during your busy week and makes deciding what to make for lunch cheap, streamlined, and easy. D.C. will help you budget.
Best way to start the new is to fail miserably.
  • During your experience there will be setbacks and missteps in the workplace and in personal relationships. The important thing to remember is to not allow these mistakes to define who you are and pester you. Failure should be used as a springboard to do better. For most of my life, failure always seemed to be an end-all be-all, the ultimate statement of who I am as a person. Now, maybe because of the distance or because of the sheer difference in place, I’ve completely shed that attitude. My relationship with failure has flip-flopped, becoming a positive learning experience that allows me to grow and move on. D.C. has taught me how to manage my perspective and allow myself to grow from mistakes instead of letting them simmer.
Weaving a Mixtape
  • Creating a support system for your needs is one of the most important things when adjusting to a new place. This support can be anything, but it must be important to you and your needs. For me, my support system is my friends in the cohort, my hobbies (e.g. painting) and my alone time which allows me to recharge and listen to some tunes. Music has had an increasing impact in my life and helps me connect with my friends and myself. The artist that I have most connected with is Bjork, so much so that her songs have been used as my title cards (lol). Weaving together playlists helps me process stress and emotions, which has become extremely beneficial in sorting myself out and moving forward. D.C. has made me more aware of my needs as a person.
D.C. is a wonderful place that within the foreseeable future I do not want to leave. It’s created the right circumstances for my growth as a person and has allowed me to change for the better. To anyone looking to start again, I highly recommend the program. The only bad thing is that my cat Magearna can’t be here.
Are you looking for a new start?

James Casey
Environmental Protection Agency - Office of Land & Emergency Management
Washington, D.C. | fall 2019