This is a compilation of blog posts current WMI students have written about their experiences while living in DC.

Horizons

By Maizy Kate Lind

I have always been attracted to places I know nothing about. There’s an enticing, imminent promise of personal change that comes along with intense adaptation. In coming to Washington, DC, I knew I would learn things about a different social culture, but the uncertainty lay in how I would learn to mold to this. It was early in my coming here that I realized I dove headfirst into a challenge, but it dawned on me that conquering it would be done easily with the help of the new community I found myself a part of.

My teachers here are certainly one of a kind. I am not necessarily learning how to be a student from them, but how to interact as a professional woman in society – definitely not your average lesson plan. I am a bizarre mixture of laidback, rebellious, girly-girl tomboy, and a huge fan of going against the grain, just to piss people off. I am proud of who I am, as are my liberal friends and family members, and I have actually never learned how to “sit.” I owe my improvement to my teacher– learning that when in an in interview, it’s not polite to rest my chin on my knee with my shoes on the chair.

I appreciate being coached in little things like this because I really never have been before. I know it’s important to say “please” and “thank you,” and say good morning to the man or woman working the front desk every day, but it is also important to carry myself professionally,should I find myself in such an environment.

My friends here have helped me learn what I need to be mindful of as well. They are incredibly intelligent and they motivate me to expand my mind in new ways. If I had free time a few months ago, you might find me researching new video art installations or trending art pieces on Vimeo. But now, I’m reading the news (gasp!) and learning the Rubik’s cube. I’m getting pretty close to solving it.

Though they’re small changes, they’re still adding new parts to me. I am able to be a part of new social interactions, pitch into new conversations about what’s going in the world, and I’m learning new cognitive skills that require me to think a few steps ahead.

Temporary City Boy

By Kody Murphy

I’m a small-town guy. Where I grew up in Michigan you had to drive close to 45 minutes to the nearest Walmart for your monthly grocery shopping trip. I grew up in a place where you are surrounded by trees in every direction. My graduating class was just under a hundred people. I know just about everyone in my town, and where they live.

Yeah. It is that small.

The moment I stepped out of the car in front of my new living space in DC, I was mesmerized. I have never seen such a big and busy place in my whole life. You would think it would take me time to adjust to being tossed into a new and very different , but it took me almost no time at all to become acclimated. Still, the three biggest things that surprised me were the insane traffic, the diverse culture, and the sheer amount of amazing food within walking distance.

The Traffic

Never have I seen so much traffic in my life, and the aggressiveness of it at that. Horns blaring all the time, it’s quite intimidating for someone like me. I’m used to hopping in my car and just going. No traffic jams, no “stop ‘n go”. It was all open roads. At a certain point, my job was 60 miles away and I could get there in just under 50 minutes. Now it takes me 40 minutes to walk to my interview that is two miles away.

The Diversity

Another huge difference is the cultural diversity here. There are so many people of different backgrounds, different religions, different ethnicities. It is super fascinating to someone like me who was raised and surrounded by white Christians for twenty years. It is a huge eye opener. I pass this Hispanic family and their market stand in Adams Morgan every day and they always have something new and interesting to sell. Since coming to DC, I have gained a huge appreciation for the diversity of this world, and how massive it is.

The Food

The food. Oh my god, the food. I had one diner in my town. Now, I can take one step outside and see at least four restaurants. My wallet has been angry since day one in Washington. Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Brunch spots, Ramen shops, Pizzerias… everything you can imagine, you can find it here. I’m one who always loves trying new food, and I am in heaven in this city.

DC is the exact opposite of what I am used to, but I am loving it. I do miss my small town sometimes, and I can’t wait for the day I get to go back and see all my family and friends. I can’t wait to play fetch with my dog in my big yard. I can’t wait to be able to drive my car again, just for the hell of it. I may not be a city boy forever, but for the moment, I am soaking it all in.

We Breathe Fire

By Emma Kelly

“Some women fear the fire, some women simply become it…” – R.H. Sin

The 2017 Women’s March in Washington, D.C. was the largest demonstration in U.S. history. As unfathomable as it sounds, more than 4 million people marched across the country, according to the Washington Post. This didn’t include sister marches all over the world.

Of the many destinations to choose, I opted to experience this year’s march at the White House. The manor – created as a home for the first citizen of the United States – seemed to be the best place to experience the thoughts and feelings of other U.S. citizens. The Metro was packed with protestors covered in glitter and pink knitted beanie hats with ears, all relishing in the fact that on this day they can openly voice their disapproval of the treatment of women.

Among the myriad of hot pink, deep red, bright yellow and green signs, were women and men, many of whom protested the 45th President of the United States and the current political climate. Signs of protest, objection, disapproval and declaration – on top of what is the norm in Washington, D.C. these days – took up the space above heads of dyed pink and purple hair.

Surrounded by incredible, capable, intelligent women all with the same goal – to reach equality – was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I realized that we are all the same; we all have wants and needs, and when we work together we can make an impact.

“When women support each other, incredible things happen.”

As I wandered over to the Lincoln Memorial, men and women swarmed the streets, all gracious and trying their best to avoid running into others. There is a reason why they call it a march, not a protest. People voiced their opinions everywhere – with signs, shirts, with laugher filling the air, with words to the officials hiding in the buildings around us. There were no opposing sides against the countless people, they were just one group with a fire in their hearts, rallying against the political cancer that has taken over the county.  

The tension was palpable, the excitement of the promises to come, the strength in the unity, the happiness of the freedom of expression – together creating what I can only call the feeling of tranquility in the eye of a hurricane.

“We are the granddaughters of witches you weren’t able to burn.” – Tish Thawer

It didn’t matter about tomorrow, or about yesterday; it was all about now and using the advantage of the combined voice of the marchers. Hopefully our reach made it around the world, and judging by the response demonstrators have received, it did.

“As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire.” There is no doubt that after this day, the women of the United States breathe nothing but fire.

“I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” – Wonder Woman

Top 5 Favorite Healthy Foods in DC

By Arielle Berger

Hi. My name is Arielle and I am no stranger to food.

I love to try new foods and seek out places to eat that are off the beaten path. I grew up eating primarily organic food with a salad at every home cooked meal, so I have a good sense of what is healthy and what is not. Growing up, I thought it was annoying that my parents made me eat my veggies while my friends would eat pizza and takeout. But now that I am older, I appreciate that I grew up eating healthy foods, subconsciously learning the foods that are healthiest for me.

When I first got to Washington, D.C. this semester, I knew I would be in for a treat. The city is a hub for food. From bottomless brunch buffets to happy hour food deals and everything in between, D.C. does not disappoint. I made it my mission to find some of the best local restaurants.

Now, here is the thing: I am gluten intolerant. Yup, there is the eye roll. But seriously, I am. Gluten tends to inflame my throat causing strep throat seven out of ten times, and that is no fun for anyone. So I want to take you on a journey of some of my favorite ‘healthy’ foods of D.C. Safe for gluten-free folks like me, but with gluten filled options as well.

1. Buredo

Pronouced bur-EE-dough. Clever, right? Buredo combines two of my favorite foods, sushi and burritos. You can find this sushirito restaurant in downtown D.C. (conveniently located next to my work office). The menu consists of 11 sushiritos that are made fresh to order. It is pretty easy to edit the ingredients just to your liking.

Some popular items include spicy tuna tartare (pictured to the right), avocado, cucumber, tuna sashimi, tempura crunch and edamame.. I ordered the Gogo but substituted the coconut crema for the siracha mayo.

If you are a fan of following the trends and ordering very Instagramable foods, and you are NOT allergic to any sort of seafood, then Buredo is the spot for you. You can check out there very aesthetically pleasing website here!

 

2. The Little Beet

The Little Beet, it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

There are a surprising amount of Chipotle-esque, make-to-your-liking, type restaurants here in D.C. The Little Beet is one of them, but better and healthier! This farm fresh restaurant (no 

surprise there, just look at the name) changes their food based on seasons to guarantee the freshest, in season items. The Little Beet gets all their food from “the best farmers and vendors in all the land” (according to their eye catching, all natural website).  And ALL of their menu items are gluten-free WOO-HOO.

I will admit that I was a little overwhelmed when I first got to the counter – there were just so many yummy food options that I could not decide what to get. Take a peek at their seasonal menu and you’ll understand what I mean. I settled on the grain/salad blend with white beans, roasted kale, beet falafel, avocado white bean spread, and pickled ginger. Take a peek at that masterpiece.

3. Chaia

I am a taco junky and finding 

this little gem was a blessing and a curse (on my wallet).  I stumbled across Chaia when I googled “must eat places in D.C”. Chaia is located in Georgetown, so it is a little bit of a trek to get there. Luckily, I was already in Georgetown doing my second favorite thing (shopping), and after a few hours, it was taco time.

Chaia is located one block off the main road in Georgetown, across a small bridge. After crossing the bridge you will first see the back of the restaurant, in all its green vine covered glory. After you walk through a cute little park, with tables to eat at, you will see the doors leading to taco heaven.

The restaurant is cute and quaint and just feels like a nice place to hang out in. They have orange infused water and servers who 

are always smiling. Their menu is simple and to the point, so as a very indecisive person, I was thankful for that. 

There were five different types of tacos when I went. I ended up deciding on the mushroom, Moroccan carrot and, my favorite, the creamy kale and 

potato taco. My friend got the roasted beet and absolutely loved it. Each one had the most distinct flavors. I ended up eating my tacos so fast that I contemplated getting a second round because they were that good.

Check out their unique taco flavors here and see you if you can recreate them at home. And if you do, let me know!

4. Fruitive

I’ve said Fruitive wrong the entire time that I was in D.C. I always called it fruit-iv, but apparently it is pronounced fru-I-tive (adj.) meaning enjoyment. Anywho, it’s fabulous. They have everything from salads and sandwiches to gluten-free waffles, smoothies and lettuce wrapped TACOS. Back at it with the tacos.

It is located right in D.C.’s City Center making this place a must. Everything on this menu is healthy. There is kale, spinach, quinoa, and flax just to name a few things. If the healthy way is a stay off the path for you, I promise you will like this place. They still have waffles (gluten-free) but they come with coconut whipped cream and maple syrup, so the sweet tooth lovers are in luck.

But as you know from the post above, I love tacos, so naturally I had to get their collard tacos. There are three kinds and thankfully I was able to get all three. Each comes in a lettuce wrap so they are extremely messy, but totally worth it. I got the Sesame Ginger Taco (which was the best), the Southwest Taco and the Tuscan Taco. Again, each was uniquely perfect.

My non gluten-free roomie got the Avo Portobello Panini and devoured it in about 6 bites. I think she enjoyed it. I have also tried the Hail to the Kale salad and Coconut Colada and have been very pleased. Needless to say, I have spent my fair share at Fruitive.  Health nut or sweet tooth, check out their menu.

5. Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

So I said healthy, right? Well I’m going to stay off the path, A LOT, like total gluten, a lot. This is a D.C. hot spot and listed on the “21 best donut shops in America” list by Thrillist. This shop specializes in their crème brulee doughnut as it was named “the city’s best doughnut”. So for these reasons, I am adding it to my list. Yes I ate it all and yes, my tonsils swelled up and I got stick. But yes, it was worth it. Besides their doughnuts, Astro is known for their fried chicken doughnut sandwich.

*Peep the pic*

This sandwich was one of a kind, with a warm piece of fried chicken, tomatoes, sriracha buffalo sauce, and pickled jalapenos, it was definitely different, but a good different.

The line is typically out the door with not just tourist but actual working D.C’ers, so you know this place is a must.

How to Entertain Yourself When You Have Free Time at Work

By Nora Scally

Update your LinkedIn

I’ve become a master at making sure my LinkedIn profile is up to date and looking like a business professional. Browse through your photos and find the perfect headshot, write descriptions for all the jobs you’ve worked, and make sure you sound like a professional.

Apply for Jobs/Internships

On many job board websites such as Indeed and LinkedIn, there are posting for Summer 2018 internships. I’ve already applied to 15 different internships in the San Francisco Bay Area for June. This honestly is a useful way to use empty time and can really help you prepare for the future. If you’re looking for an adult job after graduation, you can definitely make strides in landing that by applying during the work day.

Start that Term Paper

If you’re like me, then you’ve been assigned an 8-page research paper narrative due in January. When I have time to kill, I try to map out what I need to include in my paper, what I should be researching, and trying to schedule any necessary interviews. It really makes the time go by, and it makes the workload much easier in the end. Even just drafting a few things pays off.

Look at Memes

This is more fun than any of the other things I’ve suggested. Just go on the internet and laugh at weird millennial humor.

I hope this makes your work day go a little bit faster!

Metro Story

By Marc-Yves Regis II

When I found out that I would have to ride the metro into work, I was ecstatic. I had an overly romanticized view of what the ride would be like; I pictured myself holding a warm cup of coffee in one hand, with a crisp copy of The Washington Post in the other. I saw myself being therapeutically rocked by the train and allowing myself to briefly unwind before starting the daily grind. However, I was in for a rude awakening.

The first problem I discovered with the metro was the smell. Woodley Park, in my opinion, is the worst-smelling metro stop in the District. The stench from the nearby crawfish place and the McDonald’s, create a foul smell that is eerily similar to a male locker room after a gym class. On particularly humid days, the wafting smell is pungent and overwhelming, filling my nostrils as I begin my descent.

Getting on the metro itself is another unexpected struggle.  Anyone who rides the red line during their morning commute knows that space is at a premium. There are mornings when I have to force my way into a metro car because I fear that the sliding doors will abruptly close with my arm dangling in them. Once I’m on, I have to stay completely still. Any sort of movement could lead to disaster.  I once tried scratching the back of my head and accidently delivered a sharp elbow to a poor woman’s nose.

In spite of all this, I do love the convenience of riding the metro. In Connecticut, it is impossible to get around without a car. There is public transportation, but it’s not dependable or convenient at all. I do not enjoy driving, so the metro is a godsend for me. I’d rather endure the stench for the rest of my life rather than drive a car on busy streets and sit in traffic for hours. Besides, riding the metro is not all that bad. I may not be able to read the Post, but my neighbors’ texts provide just as much entertainment.

The Can’t Miss Holiday Celebrations in DC

By Caitlin Cryan

The fall class at WMI has the unique experience of watching the seasons change from the hot summer to the leaves changing in fall, and finally into the cooler winter. The transitional period of November into December is always a magical time, but experiencing it in the city makes it extra special. Slowly, you start to notice lights, wreaths, trees, and other decorations going up to celebrate the season. So even though the final few weeks we have in DC will be very busy, be sure to make some time for some holiday festivities only DC can offer.

Here are the top five free things to do as the weather get cooler and the District gets jollier.

1. National Christmas Tree

The 95-year-old tradition of the National Christmas Tree lighting is broadcasted nationwide on the Hallmark Channel, but why watch it on TV when you can visit it in person? The 2017 lighting is on November 30th; beginning December 1st the tree is available to visit for free all Christmas season – there are even free musical performances to really put you in the holiday spirit.

2. Zoo Lights

Beginning on Thanksgiving night, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo will light up the night. Zoo Lights is open until 9pm each night until New Year’s Eve. Walk through a magical display of color, music, and lights while enjoying a warm cup of hot chocolate – who doesn’t love a panda made of christmas lights?

3. Seasons’ Greenings & holiday music at the Botanic Garden

The United States Botanic Garden is always a warm oasis when the temperature outside begins to drop, but beginning on Thanksgiving, the garden gets decked out for the holidays. This year’s display is extra special- celebrating 100 years of the National Parks Service. Lights adorn the trees and a train visits recreations of national park sites made out of plants!

4. Seasonal events at The Wharf

December 1st and 2nd are the days to celebrate at The Wharf, DC’s newest destination. The two day celebration kicks off with Light Up The Wharf Christmas Tree lighting, complete with hot chocolate, s’mores, crafts, music, decorations and more. The celebration continues the next day with the Holiday Boat parade. Watch from the pier as boats float by decorated in bright lights. Stick around for food and ice skating!

5. Georgetown GLOW

From December 8th – January 7th, Georgetown’s nights will be a little brighter. From 5pm-10pm art installations will illuminate DC’s oldest neighborhood. Interactive light displays will make the perfect background for #insta-worthy photos.

The Hottest Pop-up Bar to Hit DC: Get your scare on with haunted dolls and spooky drinks at Pub Dread

By Lauren Richey

Time of year again where the dead come out to play… and drink has passed, but Pub Dread was one of the hottest pop-up bars this year. Shaw neighborhood bar owner Derek Brown and the Drink Company outdid themselves again with this Halloween themed pop-up. Apparently, when designing the rooms, employees were interviewed about their deepest fears, which were then brought to life.

When you entered the bar, you were immersed into the haunted forest. Watch where you go because you might run into a snake hanging from the ceiling or spiders crawling on the walls. Don’t worry they are fake of course… right..?

Adjacent to the forest was the doll parlor, filled with hundred of vintage dolls and toys. It looked like they raided every antique shop in a 30 mile radius. They even had a doll named Cordelia, who is suppose to be haunted. Some of the employees noticed her messing with their phones.

“We would get random texts and emails from her phone that were just gibberish,” says Matt Fox, who helped design the space. “She would even open up your phone and pull up a text message, and it would just start typing without her touching the phone. We’re pretty sure Cordelia possessed her phone.”

Next was the crypt. You would find it decorated with tombstones with the names of the employees on them. They also had these coffins that are great for taking pics in.

Thankfully, the last room was less scary. The “Spacebar” was dedicated to the late David Bowie. There was a giant mural of him on one of the walls, astronauts and disco balls hanging from the ceiling, and colorful lights electrifying the room.

The cocktail menu incorporated fall flavors such as apple cider, pumpkin, and yummy gummy brains. Drinks such as The Dead Will Walk Again and BeetleJuice! BeetleJuice! BeetleJuice! were crowd favorites. They set you back around $14, but trust me, these drinks were one of a kind.

You’ve probably heard of their other popular pop-up bar themes including Mario Kart’s Cherry Blossom Garden, Christmas themed Miracle on Seventh St., or the summer hit of Game of Thrones. Each one keeps setting the bar higher and higher.

How to Impress Your Employer

By Paige Ross

Having recently graduated college, I have been faced with the difficulty of pretending to know what I’m doing and be an adult. I recently moved 634 miles across the United States to Washington, DC and am interning at a PR and events company that works primarily with organizations affiliated with the military. Having received my degree in psychology, this internship is a bit out of my comfort zone, but I love it.

As a career-chasing collegiate, you’re probably doing everything you can to land the perfect job – like I am – and one of the biggest questions you might be asking is: “How can I impress my employers enough to get them to hire me?”

As a disclaimer, I have not been offered a job yet and am still working on these ways to impress my bosses.

Arrive early

Aim to get to work at least 5 minutes early so you’re not rushing around once you get into the office.

Be consistent

It’s common to have waves of productivity, but try to stay consistent so they know what to expect from you.

Be resourceful

If you don’t know something, look online before going to your boss with questions, but don’t be afraid to ask them. With that, take lots of notes so that you know what is going on and what questions to ask.

Be the yes man

Offer to help when it’s needed. Take on as much as you can, but don’t be afraid to say no when you are stretched too thin.

Proofread

Even if you think it’s right, read it again. And don’t be afraid to ask a coworker to look it over too.

And the most important of them all…

Be yourself and relax  – you will be just fine.

The Dupont Underground

By Bobby Gehlen

The dark and mysterious tunnels under Dupont Circle had remained abandoned for over 40 years.  The thoughts of how to repurpose the crumbling trolley car passage from the 1940s are bizarre to say the least.  Proposed ideas ranged from a place to store the ashes of the deceased, to a children’s playground in the late 1960s, to a fallout shelter during the Cold War.  A food court was established in the 1990s but the idea failed soon after its completion and remnants of the restaurants remain to this day.  Despite this short lived idea, the passageways had remained uninhabited for almost half a century.

As a regular bystander not taught what to look for, one might mistake the entrance to the Dupont Underground as an unassuming maintenance tunnel.  At another glance, the red walls adorning the exterior staircase and intricate murals lining the walk down show that this is much more unique than a regular metro entrance. The 75,000 square feet of space, separate from the D.C. metro, span across two stations and a series of tunnels running north and south.

The Dupont Underground was the only proposed idea that was able to last in the abandoned passageways.  It was established in 2005 and their goal is to… “Transform a public work – the subterranean streetcar station in Dupont Circle – into a new public infrastructure to support creative exchange, contemporary arts practice, and an ongoing conversation about the city.”

Today, the Dupont Underground features theatre performances, art galleries, concerts, spoken word poetry, educational talks, and many other forms of artistic expression.  Their objective has transformed into encouraging the public to, “push disciplinary boundaries and reflect the diversity of our communities.”  

From what was once just an idea to bring artists together has now transformed into a cultural epicenter for all forms of creative expression to be represented in the D.C. area.  The not-for-profit venue offers multiple exhibitions each month in an exchange for a “ticketed donation.” Information about scheduled visits or the organization itself can be found at www.dupontunderground.org.