It has already been one month since I moved down to DC for the semester and what a month it has been. I have visited countless museums, walked for miles around the National Mall and ate at some of the great restaurants that this city has to offer.
All of the sites that I have seen in the last month were great memories. The people that I have met and become friends with are even greater memories that I will take away with me when I leave in May. But one moment that will always stick out as a highlight of this semester in Washington will be last Wednesday when I completed one of my life’s dreams. I finally had the chance to visit the White House.
I was able to meet up with one of the producers I work with and get a press pass for the day. After going through security, I was finally on the other side of the fence that I have been looking at for the past few weeks. As I walked up the driveway towards the West Wing I could not believe where I was stepping. So many famous faces had walked the same path that I was currently on and I could not wrap my head around it. I was led into the press room where all the members of the media work out of. The area was very small and cramped and filled with reporters and cameramen typing away on computers and rigging different pieces of equipment. I was able to go into the press briefing room and watch the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney deliver the days briefing which to me was the coolest thing as I had only seen these sort of things on TV. After the briefing we were led out back to the South Lawn where the Presidents helicopter, Marine One, would be landing as he was coming home from a speech he gave earlier in the day. As we walked out side I recognized some famous landmarks in the yard like the Rose Garden and the Oval Office. As we were waiting for the helicopter to appear, I turned around and saw that the Presidents dog, Bo, was sitting by some members of the media. I quickly ran over only to have him get up and make his way back towards the residence. Before he got inside I was able to pet him real quickly before he disappeared.
After a lot of waiting, the helicopter finally came into view just behind the Washington Monument. As it descended onto the South Lawn, I was thrown back by the wind generated by the helicopters blades. It finally landed, and the President stepped out. I could not believe that I was standing such a short distance from the President of the United States. I was sure to snap a few pictures as he made his way from the helicopter to the Oval Office where he quickly went inside of the finish his days work. I left the White House shortly after that but not without my head spinning for the remainder of the day. I could not quite grasp what had just happened. The entire visit seemed to last only about an hour and a half but to me it seemed like a blur.
It’s moments like there that remind me of why I decided to go away for a semester, and DC in particular. The opportunities that I am creating for myself are ones that I am trying to take advantage of and ones that I know I may never get again. Sometimes I wonder what the first month of this semester would’ve been like if I was back at RWU. But I know that I am where I need to be. One month down, three to go.