Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow

Morgan Johnson looking at the view from the top floor of the Smithsonian African American History and Culture Museum
Last week, I visited the Smithsonian Naitonal Museum of African American History and Culture. Firstly, it should be noted that the ability to visit is a gift and a privilege. With waiting times and tickets unavailable until next year, each ticket is a unique opportunity that another potential patron to the museum may not have. I truly cherished this chance to visit. Once inside, this experience really changed my life.

Upon arrival I was really thrilled to experience the reactions of so many people gathered at a place that was dedicated to them. It was really exciting to see families of many sizes, shapes, shades, and hometowns come together to view the museum. This museum is truly a product of crowdfunding and charitable giving. My own grandfather donated to the museum while it was in development. To see so much giving become brick and mortar, or steel and mortar, rather, was wonderful.

I really appreciated the gravity and depth of the bottom floor, which explored the roots and reach of slavery in the United States and the beginnings of the Black experience in America. Nothing was left out. For once I was able to enjoy a full account that honored the uniqueness of every regional and demographic difference within slave communities. The selection of artifacts was incredible, and they even include information from some of my own family's predecessors from the Cane River Creole Heritage Center and National Park. This is a rarity, and having one item in that museum tied to my own ancestors was beyond meaningful. So was seeing the coffin of Emmit Till. It was a lasting reminder of why we work to protect black youths from senseless violence. I enjoyed seeing the rest of the artifacts that led all the way up to election of Barack Obama.

The top floors were triumphant and amazing. I saw a pennant from my grandmother's Ohio alma mater, Wilberforce, and saw the gas mask invented by Garrett Morgan. I would always choose him for school projects. Seeing Jesse Owens in statue form, and seeing his uniform and medals was amazing. As a shining beacon from our Alma Mater, it is important to carry on his spirit of success, courage in the face of animosity, and excellence in the pursuit of achievement. My personal favorite part of the museum was the Music, Art, and Film wing. To see some of the greatest moments in black art, music, film and performance gave me chills. Something about seeing the collective impact of work free from outside context is just liberating. I loved every moment of my time there at the museum.

I looked out on the national lawn from the top floor and cried. Much of DC was built literally on the backs of slaves. I was so proud to see how the mall has changed in the 250-or-so years since slaves would have seen it, as well as in the 50-or-so years since Dr. King had spoken on it. What an absolute marvel to watch the sun set over our country from that perch.

Overall, this visit was reflective, restorative, and inspiring. I enjoyed being in community with people from all over the country and the world reflecting on our shared history. We laughed, mourned, cried, stepped, researched, and sang. We did it all. When we left, Daina and I couldn't help but ask ourselves...what can we do to add to the history of these walls? That's something we all need to reflect on every now and then. How do we grow the collective Black story? How do we grow the collective American story? How do we write the next chapter...? What a great experience.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Good Time

By Chris Delaney

This is a story about how my experience at the Department of Justice has reinforced in me the importance of being grateful for the opportunities presented to each of us, and the importance of instilling that gratitude in others through our actions.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any jigsaw puzzles or cupcakes in this one.  But there are tacos. 

On one recent afternoon, my supervisor and friend (honestly, I much prefer friend) at the Civil Division, Gail Johnson, mentioned that she was going to have dinner with two of her clerks from this past summer, Alex and John.  Gail will often have lunch or dinner with former clerks when they are in the area.  She has recounted many times that the federal judge that she herself clerked for early in her career was extremely generous, and inspired her to go the extra mile to pass on that kindness to as many people as possible.  To this day, she maintains relationships with any of her former clerks who remain interested (that’s the vast majority), as well as many of their families.  I could easily just say that they are all merely ‘staying connected’, but after how events transpired on this particular day, I now know that that would be hideously understating what are in fact true friendships. 

I had been staying for an extra hour or so to finish a few last pieces of work for the week with Gail, when she remarked that she would need to leave soon for dinner with Alex and John at District Taco.  Soon enough, District Taco would indeed come, but to meet up with them, it turns out that there was no need to go anywhere. 

A knock on the office door.  Slowly opening it and peeking through, they met Gail’s surprised, then beaming face and rushed in!  Everyone exchanged hugs and I shook hands with both of them.  I had been ready to head out, but there was no way I was going to turn down a chance to meet two fellow clerks and decompress for a while – with a trio of delicious jalapeno tacos to boot!  I just about burned my mouth off, but in the midst of doing so, I got some great advice from John about law school, and we all had lots of fun joking about our experiences.  Tagging along just meant that I was part of the family, with the fully welcoming environment that Gail has been so careful to preserve with her clerks over the years making it possible.  In the professional world, keeping in touch, and really getting comfortable around people that resonate with you, should be on the very top of your list of priorities.  It’s a great feeling when you don’t have to stress about meeting people who have similar interests as you, because you know that one way or another, it’s going to be a good time.  In this case it got me great advice and some tacos, but moments like that could mean the chance to make more friends, or even a job!  It really is an incredible thing that I was able to experience all of this firsthand, and for that I only have Gail to thank.  If I, too, can help make the professional experiences of others less stressful, perhaps I can open up new avenues for others as well!  Foster and nurture a network, and watch it grow, even in places you might not expect.  

From left to right: The amazing Taheerah, the two geniuses, John and Alex, who are practically brothers, Myself, and the one behind it all (and nearly every single photo on the walls behind us), Gail!

A Time To Be Thankful

Words cannot express how much I’ve enjoyed my semester in DC. Because of WAIP, I was given many great opportunities throughout my three months in DC. One of the greatest opportunities I got to do was getting to attend many hearings on Capitol Hill. Being able to see how our government works in first person is truly incredible and so intriguing. Every time I went to a hearing, I always learned something new and walked away feeling amazed. Another opportunity WAIP provided me was getting to make new connections. My network in DC has grown tremendously since I have arrived in late August. I’ve been given great advice by so many different people on how to go about getting jobs and just being overall successful in life. One of my goals before coming to DC was to get as much advice as possible, so I can apply that advice and hopefully come back to DC very soon. In addition to the great connections I made, I also made many great friends. Lastly, the last opportunity WAIP provided me was the chance to let me find out if I’m ready for the next step. After my three months interning in DC, I can honestly say I am ready to graduate college and enter the work force. As my time in WAIP comes to a close, I am beyond happy that I chose to intern in Washington, DC. This allowed me to do things I would've never dreamed of doing. Most importantly, interning in DC has helped me grow as a man. All of this wouldn’t be possible without WAIP. So with that said, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, I am truly thankful for having the opportunity to be part of WAIP and intern in Washington, DC. 
~ Zack Schultz

Prescriptions to cure any Columbus withdrawal ailment

One of the inevitable parts of life is getting sick. Our immune system will eventually fail us and there comes a time that we need to take medicine to cure whatever ailment we may have.

Ailment: Missing game-days on campus
Prescription: Go to one of the many tailgates hosted by DC's alumni chapter. The most recent tailgate at University of Maryland had over 700 alumni attend from all over the East Coast and beyond.

Ailment: Missing food institutions like Canes or Condados
Prescription: Find new restaurant replacements. Example, Shake Shack is a great replacement for Canes (honestly, it's definitely better than Canes). There are also food trucks, specifically at Franklin Square Park and there is a schedule of the trucks’ rotations (http://roaminghunger.com/food-trucks/dc/washington-dc/)

Ailment: Missing friends
Prescription: There are a few options to cure this ailment
a) Get involved at your workplace. For example, join a foreign language conversation club at work or meet with some co-workers to exercise. 
b) Use the WISH mixers and events as a networking opportunity to meet other DC interns

Ailment: Tired of carrying groceries home or Ubering/riding a cab with all your bags
Prescription: Look into Safeway Supermarket since they deliver groceries. The first delivery is free and you can get regular free delivery deals via email!  

Ailment: The city is too expensive
Prescription: You're not alone on this
a) Coordinate a movie or dinner night with your housemates for affordable fun
b) Make a budget and prioritize the monetary activities that are the most important to you

Ailment: Missing nature and solitude
Prescription: Find off the beat parks to get a combination of exercise and your nature fix. A top recommendation would be Teddy Roosevelt Island

Ailment: Overwhelmed by tourists
Prescription: Try popular attractions at non-peak hours, like at night. A night National Monument Tour is great because things are slower then, and the lights and skyline of the city are breathtaking.

Ailment: Bored or can't find anything to do
Prescription: This is a particularly rare disease, but fortunately the cure is extremely simple.
a) Do the checklist that is attached in your WAIP welcome packet (*cough* it’s part of your grade *cough*)
b) Read the WISH emails that contain weekly tips
c) Pick one of your interests and Google your interest + Washington DC. 
d) Reach out to your mentor, since they are a wealth of knowledge and can help you navigate the city

If symptoms persist, double the dosage.


Dr. DR

My Advice

As I sit here on the final week of my WAIP experience, I look back asking where the time went. I also look back and question how I survived the semester with the rigorous schedule that WAIP requires. I, like everyone else here, experienced a great deal of stress. Back on OSU campus, you had so many outlets and free time to be able to relax and prepare for a busy week. In WAIP, depending on where you are interning, you will likely work until 5 or 6 Monday through Thursday with class twice a week and maybe even a networking event on top of that. That doesn’t leave much time for someone to find a moment to relax. During my time here, I have found 3 key guidelines that helped me survive. 1) Go to bed early. This is probably the most important thing I can suggest. During the busiest weeks of WAIP, you will be wishing you had more sleep. 2) Don’t waist the weekends. This goes hand in hand with sleeping during the week. The more time you sleep during the week, the more time you will have on the weekend to experience all DC has to offer. The just like at school weekends are for you to relax, hang out with friends, and forget about work. 3) Find time at the end of every day to reflect on what you accomplished and what your goals for the next day will be. If you spend the semester focusing on what you should have got done that day or what still needs to be done, you will stress yourself out. These are guidelines that I lived by in my time in WAIP. They may not help everyone. They may not help anyone. The importance is that every future WAIPer finds their own way to get through it. 

Buckeye Love From Sea To Shining Sea

                 When I was a freshman in college I woke up one morning just like every other morning and walked to my anthropology class. I got to class and was scrolling through Twitter and watching people come in to class. I watched as Joey Bosa strolled in to class and took his seat. I watched everyone else take a seat. I kept scrolling through Twitter catching up on everything that happened overnight and early that morning. I kept scrolling until my heart sank at one of the tweets: “Mass Stabbing at Franklin Regional High School”. I didn’t go to FR, but I have friends and family who have graduated from FR. Even though I went to school in Bethel Park, I couldn’t fathom how something like this could happen so close to my home.
You never think that events like this could happen until they happen close to you. FR was close to me, but today's events were even closer. Being a non-Ohioan, I couldn’t really find anyone who could relate to what I was feeling when I learned of the tragic events that happened at FR. When news broke this morning of the events on OSU’s campus I was glad to be able to find people who were able to relate to the emotional roller coaster of this morning. From thinking that it was probably just a false alarm to getting in contact with all of my friends back on campus to make sure that they were okay. I’m glad that I work with so many Buckeyes and that they were there to talk about the events and to keep me updated on anything new that they learned. Buckeyes truly are there for fellow Buckeyes no matter where you are. 
One of my biggest takeaways from WAIP is that you aren’t just part of a Buckeye network as a student or alumni. You’re part of a Buckeye family that is always there for you no matter what the circumstances are. They're there for you in the good and the bad. They're there to celebrate when you finally get an internship offer. They're there when tragedy strikes. They're there through thick and thin. My Buckeye family will be with me no matter where I am in this crazy world that we live in and I’m grateful to at least have that constant in my life. “Time and change will surely show how firm thy friendship ... O-HI-O”

-Rachel Dailey

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Some Candid Advice. . .

From Avery Pierson

WAIP is marketed as a means to live, work, and learn in our nation's capital. I could write a book about everything I've learned, but I thought I'd highlight some of those more glossed-over tidbits.

Yes, it is a bubble.
If you don't believe this, ask any WAIPer that interned in the fall of 2016. We were poised for a Clinton presidency no matter our partisanship. We attended election briefings, refreshed Politico and the Cook Report with election polling and analysis almost all of the semester. Most were prepared for Republicans to loose the Senate, too. All of D.C. mourned for the week following the election. Some due to partisanship, but everyone was reminded of how sheltered this hyper-partisan town is. D.C. is full of people who are just as obnoxious about politics as you are. While that's as wonderful place to live, learn, and grow as you intern here for a semester and feel-out of you'd like to move here post-graduation, you mustn't let it get it your head. Never forget where you came from, and never forget that there's a whole country outside of the 202 area code who doesn't live and breathe politics.   

"Beltway talk" is real and you'll probably fall victim to it. 
Iterations, inside baseball, death tax, k-street, HOB, SOB, mark-up, half-smoke, slug line, safe-track, and *insert any acronym from your internship here*. All of these beltway terms can make you feel like a cool intern and a DCer, but leave them here. When you return to Ohio, no one will know what you're talking about and, quite frankly, it's not that hard to simply explain that you mean house office building or a very tasty chili dog.

[Almost] Everyone else is just as busy as you.
No one cares that you're swimming in briefings, talking points, spreadsheets, or anything else. Of course, complain to Katy and the rest of your WAIP squad, but know that your coworkers or folks you meet and network with along the way are probably busier than you. Quite frankly, as an intern, you're probably one of the least busiest people in the whole town. Just look at your commute, everyone else is power walking too! Don't let your workload become an excuse for not experiencing this city. WAIP is an incredible semester and you are #2Blessed2BeStressed. So stop stressing, handle your workload, and go have fun exploring this city. 

Some people just suck.
As much as D.C. has its charms, it's still a large metropolitan area hosting all walks of life. I've been pushed, shoved and glared. I've been cat-called to the point of changing train cars. I've sat next to an argument that almost came to blows on my morning commute. I've met people who only care about where you work and if it's advantageous for them to speak with you. I've seen entirely too many people scream at a barista over the amount of foam in their latte. Some people are mean, but the sooner you learn to let it roll off your shoulders, the stronger you'll become. Furthermore, being a kind and honest person in this city is not as common as it should be. With that, allowing yourself to exude that "mid-western friendliness" can help you get far.

Call your mom. 
I don't care if you're not homesick. She wants to hear about your time in Washington. I fell victim to feeling like I didn't have enough hours in the day to keep in contact with everyone from Ohio. However, my family needed more updates than I was giving them. Sure, I wasn't home sick, but I was never six hours apart from them. I realized calling her on my commute home a couple days a week didn't have to be for me, but a treat for her. Your folks and friends miss you. No matter how deep in love you've fallen with the district, remember to update everyone from home on this new love of yours, they're ready and waiting to listen. 

Your habits might change.
I'm usually a tidy person who stays up late studying and can at least feed herself a few times a week. I've been surprised to find myself a cluttered mess eating canned soup and in bed no later than 11 pm most nights. It's safe to say that working a full time job along with writing a hefty research paper, prepping for class, keeping plugged into what's happening on OSU's campus, and attempting to see all that D.C. has to offer can really change your habits. I find myself tired earlier, little time to eat (or full from a free lunch or dinner!), and rushing to find the right blazer-blouse combination in the morning before slipping on my flats and running out the door. These changes in my habits are simply adjusting to a more adult-like lifestyle. If I were to operate exactly like I do on campus, I'm not sure I would have been as successful in WAIP as I've been (in my humble opinion). I haven't mastered the more adult-like lifestyle yet, but WAIP certainly gave me a look at what I need to do to adapt to a full time and often busy lifestyle I'll have if I return to D.C. 
Brunch hard, brunch often.
The beauty of D.C. is that you can wake up at 11 and still manage to get an amazing spread of breakfast and lunch options that go until 3 or 4 pm in the form of Brunch. Brunch is a District tradition, and one you should experience. So get gussied up and hit Georgetown or DuPont, or keep it casual in Chinatown or just a few blocks away on Capitol Hill. Each neighborhood has it's own ~vibe~ , and that's reflected in their various eateries. Maybe you're not really a brunch aficionado? That's fine (I'm appalled, personally), but I encourage you to ball-out on Sunday at least once. Treat-yo-self to some Eggs-Benedict, a waffle with maple bacon, or even a pizza with a mimosa if breakfast foods really aren't your thing. There's an entire website dedicated to this meal in D.C., see what it has to offer at least once! 

Columbus is different, cherish it. 
The District is far from our beloved college town. There's quite a different atmosphere than the 614. While I fell in love with it, our nation's capital is not for everyone. Beyond that, no matter how smitten I am with D.C., I'll never forget to appreciate what Columbus has to offer. The Short North and its many different, kitschy coffee shops and boutiques. The Shoe, clad in Scarlet fans screaming O-H-I-O. Construction-filled campus, with bagpipe guy and a familiar face-or-two on your way to class. Raising Canes, Donato's, and Tim Horton's: all of these Midwestern institutions you just can't get in D.C. While D.C. has its charms, unique neighborhoods, and an amazing OSU-alumni network (brought-to-you by Katy), it's simply not the same city. You can (and should) learn to appreciate what they both have to offer. 

Lastly, no matter where you go beyond WAIP, never forget this incredible semester in our nation's capital. Don't lose touch with those incredible connections. Don't take your experiences interning and through study tours for granted, and never forget the brilliant skyline of this city. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Intern 101: The Do’s and Don’ts

Internships are an exciting component to an academic career. It’s the middle ground between being a college student and growing into a young professional. Being an intern is a great opportunity to get practice in your field of study. Therefore, it is within your own power to help steer yourself in the right direction for a successful career.

If you are interning for the first time, it is difficult to anticipate what to expect out of an internship. After a few different internship experiences, I have learned both the good and the bad practices of being an intern. Here are some tips on how to leave the right impression with your employer and how to get an exceptional letter of recommendation:

Do smile and have a positive attitude!
Don’t show up late or leave early.
Do greet everyone and introduce yourself!
Don’t dress like an intern. Dress for the job you want.
Do carry your business cards.
Don’t come to work hungover!
Do speak up and contribute your recommendations or ideas.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Do respond to emails within 24 hours. Even outside of the office.
Don’t be the intern that is hard to communicate with.
Do stay professional.
Don’t lose your temper.
Do ask for feedback. But not all the time.
Don’t gossip or over-share.
Do the task you are told to do.
Don’t try to find someone else to do your task.
Do ask questions.
Don’t play on your phone or get on social media at work.
Do take initiatives. Be sure not to overdo it.
Don’t post anything on social media you wouldn’t be comfortable showing your grandparents. Your employer does look at your Facebook page and Instagram. I promise.
Do play off your strengths.
Don’t bring outside stress into the office.
Do ask for time off two weeks in advance. During the holidays try to plan time off a month in advance.
Do be proactive and stay busy.
Don’t eat out for lunch every day. The cost adds up!
Do verify deadlines and project priority!
Don’t forget to spell check and save.
Do set goals.
Don’t forget to show passion.
Do understand the bigger picture in your role.

Always remember that you are the intern in the office. You will get brought up in conversations between your boss and co-workers. Now wouldn’t you want to give them something good to talk about?
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Athina Lawson

WAIP Autumn 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What do you do when your dream comes true?

You find a new dream.

“Where’s Daina?” was the motto of my 8th grade field trip to Washington DC. I was mesmerized during my first trip to the city; there was so much to see and I was constantly left behind while taking pictures. I had been enthralled with US history for a while (due to some incredible history teachers) and I had longed to be at the epicenter of it all. During my first day I decided I wanted to make DC my future home. The next time I visited I was with my family and designated myself the acting tour guide, constantly trying to pull off being a ‘Washingtonian’.  Since then, whenever someone asked me what my favorite city was or where I wanted to live, I immediately answered “Washington DC”. Being able to live in DC for the past month and a half has been a dream come true. The transition into the city was smoother than I could have imagined (thanks to the WAIP program). Having achieved my dream of living and working in the city, I’ve decided to set my sights on a new dream: law school. I’ve wanted to pursue law for a while, and being in this city has affirmed my desire to return here for law school. Luther Vangross says it best.  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Active Civility in the Age of Hyperpartisanship

Active Civility in the Age of Hyperpartisanship
Morgan A. Johnson

I am observing some amazing things about DC. The pace, the intellect, the food, the fun--the list goes on and on. But the one thing I have to say has shocked me about this city is the level to which folks learn to have civility and active discussions rather than come to a partisan halt. You would think that because this is the heart of fast-paced politicking that this would not be the case. But I marvel the discussions that I have witnessed or been a part of. I really enjoy getting to hear perspectives, and hearing those perspectives challenged and supported by information, clear discussion of values and principles, and consideration of outside perspectives and needs. I am learning to be a more bipartisan and politically diverse person from my colleagues at OMB, mentors, and even my friends here at the residence. I spend a great amount of my time with Avery Pierson (check out our squad pic above-mixtape dropping soon) who is politically my opposite. But she and I have the healthiest respect for service, participation, and the improvement of life in Ohio and in America. We also enjoy a lot of the same things outside of that. It takes me back to when Senator Glenn reflected on his experience in the senate to my Freshman class at the Glenn College and PSL. He told us about dinners that the speakers and presidents of the senate would have, and how they mandated a bipartisan seating arrangement. It seems so simple a thing to do, and yet it made a difference. Having an active, conscious and engaged approach to bipartisanship means all the difference. If I didn't try, I would be missing out on a friend for the trip, and probably a friend for a lifetime. I'm so glad that WAIP has given me the chance to reach across the aisle and outside of my comfort zone.