D.C. Reflections: The City Wakes Me Up
I wake up to noises in the streets where cars were passing, construction was progressing next to the U.C.D.C. building, and a siren was erratically going off. I made breakfast and at the same time I remembered a tip that I had received from a wise person before I came to D.C., which was to wear a suit on the first day at the job. I got dressed without question or doubt, put on my black suit and navy blue tie. I was ready to show my Georgia State colors on the first day, and so I continued walking with confidence to my internship.
It’s 9 a.m., and I am in front of the building checking in at the security office. My internship is with the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), which is part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The CDFI Fund provides economic opportunity and promotes community development investments to under-served communities. It plays an integral role for access to capital and economic growth in America by serving mission-driven financial institutions that work on a local level. Further, the CDFI Fund “serves to increase the capacity, sustainability, and impact in order to support community development.” I had no idea what to expect and the longer I waited, the more nervous I became. Albeit I remained calm and my deep emotion remained unnoticed. Suddenly I saw someone coming towards me, I took a deep breath, smiled and I introduced myself to my supervisor. She is a Portfolio Manager and works with the CDFI and Native American CDFI Programs, which is the flagship program of the CDFI Fund.
On the first day, I was introduced to all departments, including the Legal and External Affairs (LEA). It was great meeting everyone briefly, getting around the office area and at the same time trying to remember how to get around. Last and most important, I was introduced to the team I will be working with and I was taken to my desk area. My workstation was equipped and ready to take on the next intern that came its way. The pressure was on; I told myself that I was going to do great and that is how it went.
My account was set up and my supervisor quickly passed on information that I should review and would be required to know for my internship. I reviewed information about CDFI and NACA Programs, community development, Capacity Building Initiatives, and detailed information about Financial and Technical Assistance grants. After a long day of meeting people, adjusting to my new surroundings, and reading different types of information on the first day, I was ready to eat lunch. One of the associate team members took me to Shake Shack where I enjoyed one of D.C.’s many popular burger places. I was walking home flabbergasted at what I just experienced, and suddenly I had the energy to explore our nation’s capital for the first time.
Walking down 16th street I saw people bike riding, walking, running, and soon I realized that the lifestyle in D.C. is one I can get used to. Tourists were snapping pictures of the French-style architecture buildings, and at the same time many of the tourists and locals were walking towards the Lafayette Square. From a larger scale, it seemed that a gravitational force was pulling them towards the square but it went beyond the Lafayette Square. The final way for most people was The White House. I became part of the crowd and got close as possible to the black fence separating the crowd and the back of the White House. I walked to the other side, passed by the Albert Gallatin statue that stands in front of the Treasury Department and made my way to The Ellipse. The Ellipse is an open space where the front of the White House is visible to the public. It was getting late and I decided to make my way back home but before I did, I sat near a bench and stared at the Executive Mansion. So many ideas and emotions went through my head as I felt the strong presence of the White House. As an immigrant from Mexico, interning in Washington, D.C. at the Treasury Department, I realized that anything is possible to achieve as long as I keep moving forward. On that note, I ended my full first day in D.C.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ― Oscar WildePrevious Post: Jetlagged Next Post: First Weekend