Saturday, October 14, 2017

Grace’s Blog on Comfort zone
As a risk taker and an adventurer, I have always welcomed agitation of thoughts and ideas. As much as I like to be assertive, I’m a firm believer that one cannot know what they can handle until they have bare themselves to the opposite side.  During my time at WAIP, I have embraced this philosophy. Living with young individuals with different mindsets than mine can be at times challenging.  Through our discussion of opposing topics, and engaging in the uncertainty of outcomes to our decisions, we have allowed ourselves to become more aware of our thoughts, opinions, and ideas.
For the past seven weeks, I have stepped away from the comfortable life of being a spouse and my motherly duties to join and live with fellow Buckeye students in order to become a Washingtonian. I assume that I  am the first WAIP student to participate in this program that has a husband and two kids who are eagerly waiting for my return. In contrast, none of my housemates have any obligations to marriage and raising children.  Therefore, for most of them, this is their opportunity to see if they can survive the hustle and bustle of our State Capitol area, to build networking relationships with both governmental and non-governmental agencies, in order to find their professional career path after college. Many are motivated, some are determined and others are hopeful. As for me, I’m simply trying to identify my strengths and weaknesses, like and dislike in the field of Public Servant.
Furthermore, I thought by having a background in the medical and financial field, it would help me prepare for the uneasiness of politics, policies, and public servant. In retrospect, it did not. I had always thought that my past experiences, passion for policy and public management, along with my academic will be enough to lessen the tension of disagreeing my beliefs in policies and governance. I was told otherwise.  My involvements in accounting led me to the mindset that money drives decision making in all aspects of societies want and needs.   I came to realize that this is not necessarily true.  During one of our past weekly group discussion, I  was challenged by my housemates on this specific idea own idea and belief. However, I realized after the 3rd weekly discussion, they weren’t testing or agitating my standpoint or my ability to handle their point of view.  They were just debating a different part of the policy argument as a whole. For example, I worry about the cost constraint of the policy to the taxpayers; while they are worried about what ought to be in the policy.
Moreover,  I knew my choice to apply into WAIP was going to expose me to great opportunities. I never imagined that one opportunity would challenge my fear, my willpower, and my reasons. The 2-hour drive to see 43 giant presidential heads was a last minute trip decision with my roommates. Although it stated, “online” that the property where the busts were located is permanently closed, yet there was a lot of recent Instagram posts of them. Therefore, we took the risk and hoped to see the busts anyway. Arriving in the long private driveway, my roommates discussed who should get out and ask for permission to see the busts. Of course, I ended up doing the deed and was unfortunately unsuccessful at getting the approval from the owner. However, before I returned back into my car, I asked the owner if there was any other way to view the busts. She pointed out that the only way was to go through a swampy forest and a land mine-like-dirt path. In addition, she warned me that there were cameras everywhere. Disappointed and irritated, my roommates discussed the next course of action while I pumped gas into my car. As I waited for the gas pump to stop, I looked at Google’s satellite image and saw the possible route the owner told me. Promptly, I shared my finding and my roommates decided to check it out the unmarked path. Parked on the side of the road, 2 members got out to search for a path in the forest like area.  They suggested that I should check it out since I seem to know my direction better and I can run faster than them.  Indecisive, fearful of snakes, and uncomfortable of the uncertainty, I and one of my roommate push forward and rushed into the wood. Fearful to encounter snakes, rubbing against an endless field of poison oats, sweaty and avoiding sinking into muds, my determination and motivated was at the forefront. After 20 minutes and a break from the wooded area, I saw my favorite president’s head from the distance,  President Abraham Lincoln, a welcoming excitement! 
Swiftly, we took pictures while keeping our voices down and eyes open, then we ran back toward the car.


Lastly, through WAIP, I have learned that living with young individuals with different priorities than mine makes little difference in creating or achieving a professional goal. That we are all willing to give up and work hard for a better future.  In addition, discussing opposing topics with my housemate helps create a better communication and comprehension of our diverse understanding.  Engaging in uncertainty is what drives this country and for its people to have a better tomorrow than yesterday. I have learned that being comfortable is not always the safe bet nor the best philosophy. Frederick Douglas’s advised a young man who waited for him outside his home for an advice and all Mr. Douglas said was the word “agitate”.  I believe such advice should be applied to every endeavor in life, in order to make or accept change. Therefore, I want to end this blog with an encouragement to agitate your comfort, for you will learn more about yourself and others.  

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Local Government Contractor's Perspective on Washington: The Halfway Point

A Local Government Contractor's Perspective on Washington:
The Halfway Point

By: Connor Williams

The rest of the Fall 2017 WAIP cohort and myself are about six, seven weeks into our time here in the the nation's capital and everyone is having invaluable experiences. For me, it's been an interesting perspective, since my main motivation for being in D.C. is to see policy development on the federal level in contrast to that of towns and cities. The time I have spent as a contractor and volunteers for a few Cleveland area communities and the city of Columbus has made me familiar with local administration and policymaking, and the issues of local people and their governments, and I wanted to see how local issues translate to the national stage.

It has been interesting to see that governance, when scaled up, is very much what I expected it to be: smart, competent individuals attempting to address long-term, constitutionally impactful problems while constantly juggling everyday national events (and everyday constituent concerns) that divert their time and energy. Essentially, there is always something gumming up the gears of pragmatic lawmaking and statecraft. Like I've seen on the job or discussed in our policy seminars, national governance is hard. This comes as no surprise to me, considering my background. But, many of the ideas produced, and often shelved, in service to solving national problems are often extremely valuable to local administrators, who aren't in possession of the sheer talent, ability, and resources at the disposal of Congress and the Supreme Court and the network of federal agencies that work with and advise them.

The environment of D.C. itself is a forge of metropolitan cultural and societal innovation very much like how its institutions are forges of ideas. The city itself is defined by a vague sense of directed momentum that gives it life in a way different to the wholesale chaos of downtown Manhattan or Los Angeles, and it's fascinating being in an climate such as this. It's not so much the surreality of living so close to the fanciful buildings dotted around Capitol Hill and the National Mall, but moreso the fact that the older, non-gentrified, urban neighborhoods share this nebulous air of purpose.

A view from the west side of the Capitol at sunrise. Pretty invigorating, no?
As someone who is very tied to the environs and conditions of suburbs and relatively contained urban sprawl of the Midwest, it's strange that I think it's very hard to feel "at ease" here. It's not so much that it's tense here nor does it make me feel unsafe, homesick, or anything of the sort, it's just a city where I can't really stop to smell the flowers. I had not felt this way when I had spent time in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Cleveland, or Philadelphia, so D.C. makes for a really interesting, albeit not necessarily ideal, place for me to live temporarily.

Overall, while I have been learning a lot and enjoying the best of what the public sector has to offer, and learning more about what makes good governance, I have been rather surprised how I have been influenced by the atmosphere of Washington. I am not sure how this will affect me on the move back to Ohio, and back into the sphere of local administration, but only time will tell. 

What I learned in boating school is...

Study tours are among the best experiences in WAIP. However, if I'm being honest, I didn't expect to learn as much as I did from some. The Library of Congress is a good example. I've been there several times in the past and I've seen the exhibits. I assumed the tour would cover some easily searchable facts about the amount of books maintained by the library, and what exhibits were currently on display. That assumption was wrong.


In the Library of Congress there are an exorbitant amount of details and motifs that likely go missed by most visitors. There are names and statues all throughout the great hall that celebrate individuals who contributed to art, science, and literature. There are cherubs that line the steps that represent occupations of American life, as well as the different continents of the world. There are paintings that trace the evolution of writing and the evolution of government. There are pillars that represent the pillars of society. Moreover, our awesome docent explained the story behind the materials used, blemishes in the building, and the history of the building's construction. It's a spectacular building.


All of this is to say that you may think you appreciate the history of something, but you'll discover there's a lot more to learn than you expected. All it takes is the willingness to ask questions and to listen.

-Gabe Giddens

3 Tips on how to get the most out of your WAIP experience!

3 Tips on how to get the most out of your WAIP experience!
By: Mycheala Holley

Although I am only 6 weeks into my WAIP experience I would like to share 3 things that I either wish I would have done before I arrived to D.C. or things that I have learned during my time here in D.C.. 

1. Research Before You Arrive!
Research Research Research! That is one thing that I wish I would have done more of before arriving to D.C.. I wish that I would have researched different organizations, other than the organizations that I had applied to intern with, who also have a common interest and passion in the career paths that I am interested in. Throughout my time here in D.C. I have been pleasantly surprised by how nice and supportive everyone in this city has been. If I had known how willing everyone here would be to meet with me and to help me in any way that they could I would have done a lot more research and prepared a list of people who I definitely wanted to meet with during my time here.


2. Get to know the other interns!

At the start of my WAIP semester I was very focused on meeting and networking with people who were already established in the fields that I am interested in. Then, a few weeks into the program I realized that I was overlooking the very people that I spent most of my time with. Whether that had been my fellow WAIP members or the interns within my division at work; I had failed to see the importance of getting to know them as well. I am very happy that I realized that I can learn just as much from them as I can learn from anyone else throughout this experience. During this program you will be surrounded by incredibly smart and passionate people and I encourage you to take the time to get to know them and to keep in touch with them just as you would with someone who is established in your related career field. You all are undoubtedly going to be very successful and you all have more in common than you may originally think. I urge you to take full advantage of networking with them as well during your time here!



3. Manage your time effectively but don't kill yourself!
My final piece of advice would be to manage your time efficiently. As you may know, D.C. is a very fast paced environment and you may at times feel incredibly overwhelmed but everything will be okay! There are so many things to do here and so many people that you may want to meet but you have to find a balance. Fortunately, D.C. is really great for having events where you can do both of these things! I had the opportunity to attend the Congressional Black Caucuses Annual Legislative Conference and it was absolutely amazing! I was able to attend informational panels and discussions during the day, mostly hosted by U.S. Senators, and at night they had networking happy hours and events such as bowling, skating, dinners, etc. This was a fantastic way for me to not only expand my network but also to enjoy myself and relax! Furthermore, if you are a home person like me, being able to network and have fun with friends at the same time gave me more time to relax at home in my bed! 

Me at a networking event at the Lucky Strike Bowling Ally
Hosted by the Black Professional Homecoming



As you can see, it does not take a long time for D.C. to make a dramatic impact on your life. Whether this city impacts your life personally, professionally, mentally, physically or all of the above, I honestly don't see how anyone could ever regret this amazing experience. I have only lived in D.C. for 6 weeks and I have already learned and developed so much. I am very excited to see what the next 8 weeks will bring me!
4 Ways to Save Money in DC

By Gemma Bush


Being in the nation's capital is an absolute blast, but it can be a little hard on the old wallet. As we all know, the bigger the city, the more expensive the cost of living, and DC is no exception. As Katy says, when we're back in Columbus everything will seem nice and cheap in comparison. But until then, here are four tried and true tips for saving green in DC.

1. Don't go overboard with eating out.
There are SO many amazing restaurants in this city that the temptation to splurge on eating out is near constant. I'd definitely recommend sampling as much of this city's delicious cuisine as possible, as a lot of dining options that aren't as readily available in Columbus are all over here. That said, eating out can be one of the biggest drains on your bank account while in DC, so it makes sense to limit it where possible. Pack your lunch when going to work rather than going out to lunch. Buy groceries and cook at home most week nights. Then, maybe you can treat yourself to brunch with your fellow WAIPers on Saturday.

2. Take the metro.
Generally, taking the metro rather than Ubering or Lyfting can save you a ton of money. However, it does depend on how far you're going, and how many people you're sharing an Uber with. If you're sharing an Uber with like four people, sometimes that can be cheaper per person than taking the metro. So, just be conscious of it. Walking is the cheapest option of all, and it's good exercise, too!

3. Take advantage of free activities
Having a fun and entertaining stay in DC can be very cheap or very expensive, depending on what you decide to do. Sometimes the free activities and sights in this city can be just as much fun as the ones you have to dole out a boatload of cash for. A Saturday spent at the Smithsonians and a night spent walking the monuments costs zero dollars, whereas going to the mall, the movies and a bar for instance on a Saturday might cost $50 or $60.

4. Be smart about going home
If you fly home for the weekend like four times over the course of the semester, that's going to seriously add up in terms of cost. Not to mention, you don't want to waste your WAIP semester by spending too much time back in Ohio. Consider planning visit about half way or three quarters through the semester -- it'll give you something to look forward to.


People You’ll Encounter on The Hill

People You’ll Encounter on The Hill

From people banging drums outside of embassies to organized groups chanting outside of Senate buildings, activists for many different issues use the political hub of D.C. to try to influence important figures in the government to believe in their causes.



D.C. is extremely fast-paced. While Congress is in session, The Hill is full of Politicians in suits running around trying to get to hearings or other meetings on time. Days start early and oftentimes end late. If you want to meet with one of your representatives, I would recommend going to a constituent coffee or setting up a meeting before arriving to The Hill. Sometimes you’ll only get to meet with a staffer because Congress is busy, but they are also knowledgeable and great to talk to.



The process of writing and implementing legislation involve a lot of litigation. This is done mostly by attorneys. At the end of the workday you can catch many of them at a happy hour in a local bar in their suits relieving themselves after a stressful day.



No one wants a boring internship. Many interns on the Hill can be found on the phone or walking from office to office. Students from many different fields intern in offices that your average American doesn’t even know about. Even when Congress is in session, interns stay busy and enjoy the fast-paced environment on the Hill.



Homeless

It needs to be addressed. There is a huge wage gap between many of the people who reside in the Capitol Hill area. There are so many issues that go into that. Gentrification has forced many families to the outskirts of the city in areas that are not well-maintained. When some prisoners get out of custody, they are given a bus ticket to their hometown and one pair of clothes. People from D.C. get dropped off here with no resources. People with mental health issues have no support. They’re a demographic that’s ignored because they can’t be reached. 

- Stephanie Costa

Leaving a Legacy


The notion of a legacy has come up several times during my semester here in Washington, in a variety of different avenues. In addition to participating in a program that honors John Glenn's legacy and the vision he had, several of our study tours and policy salons promote building and leaving a legacy as well. The Broadway musical,
Hamilton, describes a legacy as “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see”. Based on my current experience in Washington so far, this assessment is incredibly accurate, as almost everything s the direct outcome of a legacy that someone took the care of leaving behind, including the John Glenn College and Ohio State.

Everything in Washington is the result of a legacy that was left from those that came before us. The monuments, the museums, and overall foundation of our country serve as reminders of the work that has been done, and the driven, ambitious people in this city are constantly striving to positive and lasting change. Washington, DC is a city of movers and shakers with passionate and driven people, all constantly trying to leave a legacy, and hopefully, leave things better than they found it. The study tours we’ve had, the panels and individuals we’ve heard from during our policy salons, and the incredible people we work with everyday all exhibit this drive, and being among some of these passionate changemakers has been an incredible learning experience.

One of the first study tours we had was at the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality Monument. The museum was filled with incredible artifacts that illustrated a huge part of American history, and focused on preserving the legacy that was left behind by these amazing suffragettes. In addition to providing incredible information about the women's suffrage movement, the museum also payed homage to those that came before them and the work that was yet to be done. Furthermore, the museum had a component that illustrated achievements from women in politics today, as well as displays that encouraged women to continue to run for public office - and leave a legacy of progress. Progress is an ongoing endeavor, and building off of those who came before us is essential in creating lasting and positive change.



This is an authentic banner that suffragettes used to advocate and protest with, displayed at the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality Monument.


In addition to the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality Monument, the notion of legacy was also brought up a great deal when we visited the Frederick Douglas house. Our tour guide was incredibly animated and passionate and spoke about how we owe it to the next generation to build equity and promote justice, just as those that came before us worked so hard to create what we have now. He explained that the idea of legacy is an ongoing thing, and that even though others have worked tirelessly to help us have the life we currently have now, continued work must be done to ensure a steady stream of progress for future generations. We owe it to ourselves, those who came before us, and those who came after us to create something positive and that helps others.

Although many of the legacies that have been left behind in Washington are quite large ones, such as giving women the right to vote, and the public institutions we have, my semester so far has also taught me that one can leave smaller, but equally as important, legacies too. Sometimes, leaving a legacy can include excelling at your internship so the next cohort of WAIP students can learn as much as you did there, continuing to represent Ohio State in a positive light in Washington, or, simply being kind to others. Ohio State and the John Glenn College are both widely regarded in Washington, with Buckeyes in every corner of this city in a plethora of different organizations, professional fields and agencies, and it is all because of the legacy that those that came before us left behind.

We owe a lot to those who worked hard to leave us a legacy, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't continue working hard to leave one of our own. The speakers and individuals we've met with so far almost all spoke about how they're so excited for our generation to come and build something great out of what exists now. The Founding Fathers built this nation as their legacy, the suffragettes fought to further women's equality, Frederick Douglas strove to promote racial equality, Senator John Glenn left behind his commitment to public service and helping others and our generation is here, enthusiastic and ready to make a change. I’m personally so excited about the potential that our generation has to create change and know that we are ready to take on this challenge - and leave the world better than we found it.


Overall, my semester in Washington has been everything I had hoped for and more, and I’m so excited to continue and learn as much as I can during my time here.

- Varsha Challapally 

Walking is Good for the Soul

Walking is good for your soul.
By: Chiara Banez


There are so many methods of transportation around DC that I feel like we take the fact that it is an extremely walk-able city, for granted. Sure, I am with you on the fact (even though I’m a morning person) that I don’t want to wake up an hour earlier to walk, but on the way home? As long as it isn’t swamp weather, I’m in.  And of course I will probably Uber if I am with a group of 3 and we are leaving the Jefferson Monument at 11PM and it is a 3-mile walk back home. But seriously, walking around DC is definitely the way to go and below are some observations about why you should and my best tips for enjoying your walk!

Tips:
1.     Wear comfy shoes! DC is one of the few cities where wearing your professional clothes with your running shoes is a popular look. I didn’t want to buy into the trend, but I have definitely jumped on the bandwagon. My running shoes make my feet a lot happier than the flats or heels I wear to work-and in case I get to the metro station right as a train is pulling up in the morning, I can speed down the escalator and jump on the train. Plus, it definitely communicates to employers that you are a practical human who is able to run in case of emergency. Again, I am making jokes, but if you have a desk at work it is a great idea to leave your professional shoes there so you don’t have to pack them everyday, and wear your tennis shoes for the commute.
2.     Listen to music or a podcast.  Ok, take this tip with a grain of salt. I think that it is great to listen to music and podcasts while you walk but sometimes it is great just to take in the city without any background noise.  You may hear protestors, you will be more aware of cars (in a city of so many jay-walkers this is important) and you just have the opportunity to have some silence….however, to make your walk more enjoyable on the days when you want company, I suggest listening to your favorite playlist or a podcast! I highly recommend Up First by NPR, but this may be one that you want to listen to in the morning, because it gives a snippet of the news from the previous day. There are also some really interesting Sci-fi ones that I have listened to in the past but do a quick Google search and I am sure you will find something.
3.    Look around. How many other times in your life are you going to have the opportunity to live in the nation’s capitol within such proximity to the Capitol building? There are so many amazing monuments and buildings in this historical city that you don’t get to see when you are underground on the metro. Also, in case you didn’t notice, there are some pretty amazing people in this city and you never know who you will run into! The other day on my walk home, I am pretty sure I walked past Senator Bernie Sanders (rumor has it that he gets his drycleaning done near the WAIP house) and I never would have ran into him had I Ubered home!
4.    Bring your phone/camera. I cannot tell you how many people I have seen making calls around the Capitol at night and how calming it is to catch up with friends and family while looking at the building all lit up. I can tell you that that is one of my favorite things to do. I feel like walking around the outside of the building is just so peaceful at night and gives you space away from the hustle and bustle of DC and the house. On the same note, bring your camera, because again, you never know what you will see that you want to capture in that moment!


There you have it! I hope you all are convinced to walk more in DC and enjoy your time doing so!

Climbing Old Rag Trail, by Abby Vesoulis




Last weekend, I had the opportunity to climb Old Rag Trail.

The 9.1 mile, 2,415 foot summit was not easy to get to. However, it was worth it not only for the views at the top, but also for the lessons I learned along the way. I'll talk about some of those lessons below.

1. Show up.
Arguably, the hardest part about the hike was getting there. It's about three hours away. Luckily, Grace (a fellow WAIPer), offered to drive, but just agreeing to go made me committed to not wasting the day by giving up before I got to the top.

2. Teamwork is important, even if you don't think you need help.
Five of us did the climb together, and even though we had different athletic capabilities, we stood together during the hardest parts of the climb. We shared our resources of food and water, we were encouraging, and we literally and figuratively gave each other a boost. In the work place, you need to do the same things for your coworkers -- be kind, share information, and help each other when someone has too much on their plate.



3. Be prepared
Showing up is the hardest part, but come prepared to take on whatever challenge you will face. I'm so glad I wore the right clothes, had water and looked up what I was getting myself into. I might have given up if I went in without enough water or if my shoes were uncomfortable. At work, make sure you prep for important meetings and to dress for success.

4. Hard work is usually worth it
This hike was HARD. I left with scrapes, and couldn't walk the next day. I was out of breath for a good chunk of the hike, and even feared serious injury a few times when jumping over chasms. But the journey was so worth it. I saw views I had never seen before. I imagine most things in life are like this. Anything worth doing is going to pose challenges, but the end result will have been very worth it.

For more information and pictures about my hike, visit NBC Washington and look at my gallery.


- Abby Vesoulis 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jon's Declassified WAIP Survival Guide: 5 Ways to Deal with Feeling Homesick

This week marks the fourth week since fall move-in, and what a great four weeks it has been. So far, every experience and opportunity here has been incredibly rewarding and I have fallen in love with this city. That being said, I can’t help but feel homesick and missing out on the college experience at times. Seeing snapchats, Instagrams, and Facebook posts of everything going on back in Ohio knowing there is fun being had and memories being made without you can take its toll. Not to mention the fact there’s no way for me to fill my Buckeye Doughnuts and Sicilia’s Pizza cravings. To me, mental health and a great mindset is extremely important to success and while I’ve had so many positives here already, I’ve also had my fair share of negatives missing Columbus, Ohio State, and most importantly my friends from school. But by letting these negatives take control of your life, not only are you making it harder on yourself to excel in D.C., you are also missing so many great things pass you by! That’s why for my first blog post and the first of Fall WAIP 2017, I think there is no better way to kick things off than to share my five ways to deal with feeling homesick here in D.C.

1.     Surround yourself with Buckeyes
There is nothing worse than feeling homesick while at the same time feeling alone. That’s why it’s so great that WAIP allows you to live in D.C. with fellow Buckeyes, and why it’s so important to utilize this. Being able to talk with and relate to other Ohio State students about campus life, classes, social life, and football prevents you from keeping all your feelings about Ohio State and Columbus bottled up inside. But why stop at just sharing with your WAIP cohort? Ohio State alumni are everywhere and this cannot be more prevalent than in D.C. Take advantage of the fact there are so many alumni at policy salons, as they were in your shoes not too long ago and probably had the same feelings about missing Columbus and Ohio State. If your office has Ohio State alumni, take advantage of that as well. My supervisor is a recent graduate of Ohio State and every week we’ve talked about things like upcoming football games, the best food on High Street (hint: it’s Buckeye Doughnuts and Sicilia’s), and club sports. All of these alumni understand how hard it is moving to a new city, and the last thing they want is for you to feel out of place.

2.     Always plan to do something for the football game
As expected in the fall, Saturdays are the days where feeling homesick is the worst. Knowing that all of campus is having a great time tailgating and watching Ohio State win while you’re 400 miles away can eat away at you, it’s how I felt for the first home game of the season. That’s why it’s necessary to make sure you have plans for watching the game, because if you can’t be there in person the next best thing is watching on TV with others. For the first three games, my plans have ranged from forming a group to go to a watch party at Solly’s, an Ohio State bar, to ordering pizza and watching together in one of the apartments. While most of the time WAIP can feel like a glimpse of life after college, it is moments like watching football games that help remind me I am still an Ohio State student who has time left on campus. This helps keep me grounded and driven during the grind that is work, class, and policy salons.

3. Don't Sit Around
One of the worst things you can possibly do when you’re feeling sad and homesick is sit around and let these feelings overtake you. One of the best parts about WAIP is it provides you with the unique opportunity of having the National Mall as your backyard; if you’re missing home all you need to do is go for a walk and you’ll be reminded how great it is to be here in D.C. Another great thing is there is always something going on in this city and always something to do if you just get out and look. One of the most recent times I was feeling some type of way, me and my roommates went to the Smithsonian Postal Museum. Although some people might think you can only learn so much about the mail, there were what seemed like endless collections and great photo ops for your social media game. While it can be tempting to curl up in a blanket and watch Netflix when you’re homesick, you’re just putting off those feelings until later. Getting out and exploring lets you replace those feelings of being homesick with feelings of excitement and adventure.

A mail carriage from the Smithsonian U.S. Postal Museum
4. Keep in touch with friends
Second only to your parents, your friends will be your biggest support group while here in D.C. Similar to surrounding yourself with Buckeyes, keeping in touch with your friends will give you another outlet to talk about Ohio State, missing campus, and any other issues going on. Not only that, but friends won’t hesitate to dish out words of encouragement to keep you going. One of the times that will stick with me is when one of my fraternity brothers who I consider one of my best friends called me during the middle of their chapter meeting. He put the phone on speaker and I heard everyone shouting hello and then he said, “We miss you buddy but we’re proud of you”. After hearing something like that you can't help but feel empowered and motivated to take the world by storm. Another instance happened when I facetimed my friend one night from the steps of the Supreme Court, you know, since it’s basically my back porch. As I was telling her about everything that I’ve done since coming here I could feel how excited she was for me, and I could feel all my homesickness disappearing. Before this semester, I was terrible at keeping in touch with friends who were not in close proximity to me. Being here in D.C. now, I cannot stress enough how important it has been to talk with friends on a daily and weekly basis.

5. Plan a visit
The last thing to do when feeling homesick is to take the initiative and plan a trip back to visit! Having the weekends free during WAIP is great for a multitude of reasons, one being it allows you to travel. Taking a weekend to go back and visit Ohio State, especially a football weekend, is a great way to cure your homesickness, give yourself a breather from the fast-paced D.C. life, and see all the people you have kept in touch with over the semester. Even if the trip back won’t be until November, it gives yourself something to look forward to and another motivator to get through the rough patches. Another alternative to going back to visit Ohio State is to have your friends from Ohio State visit you! Bringing a little bit of Ohio State to D.C. can help make the city feel more like home and there is nothing better than showing your friends all the cool activities you’ve done here. Just like if your Ohio State visit is far enough out in advance, if your friend isn’t visiting for a while it gives you something to look forward to.

It’s very natural to miss Ohio State and Columbus while here in D.C. However, letting these feelings consume you and affect your time here will only cause unwanted stress and a decrease in performance at work. By using these five strategies, I have been able to successfully navigate the growing pains of the first four weeks in a new city while also setting myself up for future success in dealing with these problems.