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Is There Room in the National Budget for a Dehumidifier?

By Michael Preston

It has quickly become the thing I dread the most about every morning. No, not the alarm. Not the daily grind of the upcoming workday. Not even the small fortune that I’ll inevitably be spending on food for the rest of the day. Nope – the thing I dread the most every morning is checking the weather app on my phone to find out the humidity forecast for the day. This daily routine has turned into a sadistic exercise where I get to envision just how much sweat my shirts and slacks will likely have to absorb today, as well as just how much I will be suffering during the short journeys from apartment to Metro station and Metro station to work. It is safe to say that I don’t do well in this climate.

How anyone can do this on a regular basis for years and years is beyond me. Suits? Dark suits? Sleeves? Summer heat? Any kind of heat? What kind of monster decided this was a good idea? And when will business formal shorts become a thing? Feel free to join my movement to introduce shorts and sleeveless jackets to the guidelines of business formal as I unstick my shirt from my back and look for something to wipe the sweat that is glistening on my forehead.

Maybe I’m spoiled from the dry mountain weather of Boulder or the Mediterranean climate of my hometown in California…no, I’m definitely spoiled. But I have no idea how I’m supposed to adapt to this change short of showing up to work in a tank top and flip-flops. I thought I sweated a lot when I work out, but it is a whole other level when you are trying restrain said sweating. I think I sweat more when I know I should not be sweating. What a fantastic situation to be in!

The best part is that it’s only going to get hotter! Despite locals claiming that August is the hottest month of summer, that title actually goes to July, according to the Washington Post. And the summers have only been getting hotter and more humid over time, meaning in a few weeks’ time there’s a possibility that all that is left of me is a husk drained of all fluids. Please send help in the form of industrial-strength fans and ice packs or this blog post may be my last form of contact with the world.

Until sleeves become optional in the workplace and Calvin Klein introduces a line of formal sweat-wicking apparel to compete with Under Armour, my feelings towards the humidity will be firmly planted in the “Above 75” category even if the actual weather is in the “60-65” region. This naïve California kid is not cut out for the wrath of Mother Nature.

Ankle weights

By Claire Dietz

“We’re gonna throw you in the deep end, with ankle weights.” We were told this on our first day.

They weren’t kidding.

I’m from a suburb, but go to school in Iowa City, Iowa. There I’m used to working for a hyperlocal student paper that regularly runs up against other papers throughout the state and beats them.

I found out very quickly Washington D.C. is nothing like Iowa City, something that would surprise exactly no one.

In Iowa City, I cover arts and culture around the city and the University of Iowa. I also work for a student radio station that covers the same sorts of things the paper does.

Over the past three years I have made a niche for myself consisting of knowing a lot of what happens in Iowa City on a weekend. But in D.C., I was pushed into something entirely different.

Currently, I’m interning at a publication called The Cancer Letter. But this isn’t any old publication. This publication is read by doctors and scientists throughout the industry. It has the power to change the industry with a few articles and has spoken with some of the most powerful names in the cancer world. Also, it helped put Martha Stewart in jail in the mid 2000s.

Talk about being thrown in the deep end with ankle weights on.

On my first day at work I was overwhelmed and terrified I wasn’t fit for this. Maybe this was a joke, or the director of the program had made a mistake. Maybe I had been placed in an internship I would inevitably flop at.

That first week was terrifying, without a doubt.

But I kept on keeping on. I kept working, I kept trying.

Now, we’re at a point where we are at about the halfway mark. It didn’t take long for me to realize how much ankle weights can weigh you down.

But here’s the thing: I’m getting stronger. Each step forward is making me stronger.

Am I exhausted? Absolutely.

Do I want to cry? Totally.

Am I learning? Without a doubt.

Am I being pushed to a breaking point? Oh yeah.

Do I regret all this? Not one bit.

Am I out of my comfort zone? Yes.

Do I think this was a mistake? No.

These past five weeks haven’t been easy. I don’t expect these next five weeks to get easier. But I can feel myself growing.

My brain is thinking differently; all my cares have all but flown out the window. I feel myself pushing myself to try new things. I am forming habits. I am learning Javascript. I’m reading more. I’m doing more things, differently.

When I got thrown in the deep end with these ankle weights, I thought I was going to drown. It certainly seemed that way.

But now, a few weeks later when I look back to where I started, I’m honestly a bit blown away.

My relationship with my own writing and editing has changed significantly, I feel more confident in the things I’m handing to my editor each week. I’m making videos for class, and learning programming on the side.

These haven’t been the easiest few weeks, but I think looking back, they’ve been rewarding in some unexpected ways.

And my ankle weights have changed. The things that could have very well drowned me in my first week in D.C. are now something I can tread water with.

In these first weeks, different things were overwhelming. Making a website with Wix  is now an afterthought. But going to a senate hearing on the National Institute of Health’s 2018 budget is an overwhelming dragon I’m going to slay very soon.

These 10 weeks aren’t easy, but you come back from them changed. You are able to handle things differently. And when you look back, you’ll be shocked to see how far you’ve come.

 

Navigation Skills

By Blake Balfrey    

If my family were to give you one piece of advice about me, it would be to never trust me with directions – ever. Just don’t do it. Until just a few weeks ago, I have lived my life in familiar places all filled with wonderful and resourceful people to help me. Mid-May however, I chose to abandon this familiarity and challenge my navigation skills, or lack thereof, by spending a summer in Washington, DC.

My first test included navigating the city, and let me tell you, it’s not easy. Someone chose to lay this place out in a very “systematic” way – making my life miserable. During WMI boot camp, I seemed to always volunteer to navigate the group efforts to find lunch in our short hour. I managed to make it shorter by leading everyone fifteen minutes off route. I’ve had six ubers and counting cancel on me because we (mutually!) could not locate each other. Now that I’m about four weeks in, I have managed to figure out that yes, the streets are numerical, but bottom line is there is definitely room for improvement.

Below street level, the metro has been an entirely different story. The very first attempt of me getting to my internship included metroing to a stop (I couldn’t tell you which one to save my life), getting on a bus, the wrong one for the matter, transferring to the opposite direction bus and eventually getting into an Uber to Cannon Office House. Other than that, I’ve relied on others to know where we are going and so far, it has worked – shout out to Catherine, even if we get to work 30+ minutes early!

Pretending that I’ve improved my navigating to work, my next learning curve has been in my office building itself. The not-so-secret secret is that there are numerous tunnels under the hill that connects the congressional, senatorial, and Capitol buildings to each other, and let me tell you that is a whole new ball game. There are endless corridors, hallways, elevators, and room numbers. So, without a question I have been getting my 10,000 steps in. The best is that not once, but twice I have taken the senate subway to the Capitol and have found myself on the fourth or fifth floor – apparently having an intern badge gets you in everywhere.  Moral of the story is confidence is key to people not questioning if you’re lost. So, I’ve been familiarizing myself with the lesser known parts of the Capitol building – they’re beautiful by the way; if you can, you should go.

But despite all my mishaps, the most enjoyable part has been learning to navigate DC culture – figuring out how DC operates, learning to guide myself through meeting entirely new people, and being thrown into a new lifestyle. This crazy city is quite the culture shock, especially when you are being led (or more like thrown into the deep end) by Jon, Katey, and Amos. By week four, I have actually managed to understand the complicated, intertwined social scene and interactions, the balance necessary to balance work and class, and most importantly adulting. Overall, there is a learning curve, but if someone is teaching a navigation class, please, please sign me up.

Touring the Capitol

By Jake Mauff 

I was on the Hill the day James Comey testified in front of the Senate. That’s a bit greater description than the story warrants, but it happened nonetheless.

I was told I’d be going to the Capitol before I showed up in DC. My internship hyped me up even more and that continued for a couple weeks. But it didn’t happen right away. That left me waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

Then I went to the Capitol.

I went Wednesday to get the credential I needed. I just had to get a badge that day, so the intern who worked the semester before I did (shout out to WMI alumna, Makena!), was kind enough to show me around.

I saw George Washington painted holier than Adam in the Sistine Chapel. There were statues that were so well-crafted you couldn’t discern them from the real thing. There were a lot quirky things that caught my attention; for example, a square man from Hawaii is featured on the House side. Turns out he was a leper and had to wear essentially a box his entire life because of the illness, so he was actually square.

The next day, there was a markup on a bill in the House Science, Space and Technology Committee about commercial space travel. I went back to the Capitol to shadow the experience. There was one person in vocal opposition to the bill, ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson. She had proposed an amendment which would have pretty much reversed everything the bill did. Johnson ended up withdrawing the amendment, so the bill process was entirely effortless to pass afterwards. No one voted “nay” to the bill, even Johnson, so it advanced to the floor.

To top off the entire event, I wore a suit, with vest, all day. Changing out of all that at the end of the day was the best part.

Gender Lens Conference

By Nicole Dan

Despite the large number of women currently getting their degrees in journalism, the field is still largely male. I was grateful for the opportunity to attend the Pulitzer Center’s Gender Lens Conference last week.

Getting to rub elbows with people at the top of their field was an amazing experience. At the Women in Conflict Zones panel I got a sense of what it would be like as a woman reporting in a current or past warzone and the challenges of covering these issues.

Beyond the narrow scope of the classroom, I learned what it was actually like in the field – and how being a woman can be an advantage when it comes to earning the trust of other women. Journalism professors like a to enforce a strict standard of impartiality – which I find impossible to meet. People have opinions, and to dismiss that is almost more suspicious than acknowledging it. At the Diversity Panel, I learned that I wasn’t alone feeling this way and there were others in the field that feel that impartiality can be artificial. One quote by Daniella Zalcman stuck with me – “[Journalism] still looks at the world from a colonial gaze.”

On the second day I came back for a workshop on cyber security – which taught me how to securely communicate with sources through encrypted email and other methods. The most important stories of our day have come as a result of leaks, so it was important to me to learn about this technology.

The Gender Lens Conference was one of those unique DC experiences – having so many powerful people in a room at once.

Good Food, Better Friends

By David Jensen


Coming to D.C. was a big change of scenery for me, and I mean that literally. Growing up in a small town of less than five thousand people where the tallest building is probably the tip of a church steeple, doesn’t exactly prepare you to live on your own in a metropolitan area of over 600 thousand.

However, the size of the city was not what I was most nervous about while pondering what my semester in D.C. would be like. I had maneuvered my way around cities like Chicago and London before, and was fairly comfortable with my ability to do so here. What I was more concerned about was whether or not I would have cool roommates that I could spend time with.

While I knew that I would be extremely busy with my internship, classes, projects, and tours, I also knew there would be plenty of free time to explore the city and didn’t want to do so alone. I also knew that my best shot to make friends would initially be with my roommates. I really wanted to like the guys I would be living with because as anyone who’s ever had roommates knows, they can either make or break an experience.

Fortunately, they turned out to be better than I could’ve ever hoped for. Scott and Zack are both great, and we have plenty of good times together. Whether it’s going out for drinks and dinner on the weekends, exploring new places, or just chilling in our apartment after work farting around or binge watching Game of Thrones, we have a great time. All I was hoping for were people that I could get along with. But what I got, are two guys who I can genuinely say are good friends of mine, which is pretty special after just under two months together.

Something I wasn’t worried about before coming to D.C. but should have been is food. There are way too many good places to eat, and they are all within walking distance of my apartment and office. So of course and soon as I got to the city I was eager to try as many new places as possible (and maybe the fact that I didn’t want to grocery shop or cook played a factor as well…just maybe).

I’ve found that grocery shopping is much more of an inconvenience without a car. When you have to carry all your groceries back with you or pack them in the back seat of an Uber, it discourages you from buying in bulk. So needless to say, the first few weeks here I found out the hard way how quickly and seamlessly a bank account can plummet when you are spending $10 a day on lunch and going out to eat every weekend.

There was one bright spot in my restaurant excursions. Scott, Zack and I found this awesome seafood restaurant just down the street called Hot N Juicy Crawfish and it’s become our go-to favorite place. I even recommended it to my boss and he proceeded to thank me the following week after he went with some friends. I recommended it to everyone in the D.C./Woodley Park area. But the food wouldn’t taste as good if I didn’t have some awesome friends to share it with.
Moral of the story: friends are important, and so is food. Find a happy medium between eating out and grocery shopping, and your bank account will thank you. I also highly recommend Amazon Prime Pantry if you’re already a member. It’s clutch.

Life as a DC Student in WMI

By Merdie Nzanga

It was April 4, 2014 – the day I received my acceptance letter to American University. Oh yay me! I’m going to Washington, DC! Here I was leaving my home in Seattle, WA and going all the way across the nation’s capital. Although I later left AU, I transferred to Howard University (also in DC) because I still loved living in DC.

Living in Washington, DC is so special to me because it is our country’s capital. It is so historically and culturally rich, and there are so many sights to see – from museums to national monuments, to restaurants!

While I’ve lived here, I’ve also had the chance to visit the Newseum several times.  The Newseum is a large, interactive museum that focuses on journalism and the media in our understanding of historical events, located right in the middle of the city. Every time I visit this museum it gets me excited about journalism.  My favorite place at the Newseum is the Vietnam War coverage presentation – the first televised war. It is amazing to me how much of an influence  Americans had on the war just by watching it on their television screens.

Because I could have a new experience and stay in DC for the semester, I decided to attend the Washington Media Institute. My experience at the Washington Media Institute has made my experience in DC even better. This semester I am interning at DC Witness where we track homicides in DC and write about them. I go to court everyday, and then I come back to our office and get to write . I like this internship because it has been helping my writing. During class, Amos, the director, and Jon, the associate director, give individual feedback to each student on their work. I’m being pushed more professionally than I ever have and it’s all thanks to WMI!

If you haven’t had a chance to visit DC, please come!

A Different Kind of WMI Student

By Kristina Orrego

Most days, I’m up by 5 a.m.

6:30 is nothing short of glorious.

Then, I hop in my car and make the 45-minute pilgrimage from Stafford, Virginia (I chose to live with my uncle there to save money on housing) to the Franconia-Springfield metro station, swerving on the EZ pass lanes past all the other cars like I’m in a Fast and Furious movie. It’s a miracle I haven’t gotten pulled over. 

The blue line at Franconia is the first of the two metros I get on before I get to my internship, making my commute total a little less than two hours.

Seriously, there’s nothing I hate more than being late. And being on time is the same as being late in my book. I signed up for this. There are no excuses.

I heard about the Washington Media Institute at UF’s College of Journalism Career Day they hold every semester. I was soon to graduate, and soon after, I proudly walked across that stage in December 2015. I had the textbook-typical freak out moment of realizing I was an unemployed college graduate and scoured Craigslist for anything I could do to at least put gas in my car and buy groceries on my own.

I took up as many freelancing gigs I could at three different publications and became a scribe at a business transcription service. All the while, I never forgot about the WMI I was so enthusiastic about as an undergrad. I got back in contact with the staff.

I’ll be 90 and still remember the first conversation Jon, the Associate Director, and I had about the program. He asked me where I wanted my journalism career to go and about some of my experiences so far. He told me Gainesville and Alachua County Today, the main paper I was writing for at the time, were simply too small. His exact words: I had to get out of Gainesville and in front of the right people.

Someone I respected enormously saw something in me, and my heart could’ve actually exploded. For just a short time, the voice of doubt I’ve wrestled with since I can remember was silenced. I knew if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity, I would always wonder what could’ve been or where it could’ve taken me.

That was a long time ago. After working as a receptionist and a road trip to D.C. with my parents so they could meet Amos, WMI’s Director, I’m here.

I would be lying if I said that it hasn’t been hard.

I sleep in longer than I’d like to admit on the weekends to make up for what I lose during the week. I’ve had to spend all night and the wee hours of the morning finishing video projects because my commute cuts severely into my work time.

But so far, it has been absolutely worth the blood, sweat and tears. It’s pushed me to the point that I truly feel like I can handle anything.

And the greatest outcome so far?

I’m starting to believe I can, too.

Top Ten Emojis and When to Use Them

By Scott Silberstein

Here is the definitive list of the 10 best emojis (in no particular order), what they mean, and when to use them.

 

2. Yikes – basically that face you make when your roommate asks what you’re doing this weekend but you already made plans without them. Use sparingly, this personal favorite of mine can get out of hand quickly.

 

2. Fire – a term used for when something is really good, or actually on fire.Use in above situations, especially when it’s “lit”.

 

3. Chicken Leg– can be used in the broader sense to represent any food, or chicken specifically. Best used at lunch or dinner.

 

4. 100 – popularized by the phrase “I keep it 100” this emoji symbolizes the best, the cream of the crop, a 100% effort.

 

5. The Sailboat – Everyone knows the best way to travel is by boat, the scenery is unmatched by any other. Use this whenever you want to escape a boring conversation.

 

6. The Disappointment – to express disappointment or shame of oneself or others. Use whenever your faith in humanity is dwindling.

 

7. The Flag – this is the flag of South Africa, you can use whatever flag you like, but this one is my personal favorite. Use to express patriotism, or to be difficult when telling friends where you are traveling.

 

8. Love Eyes – used to express significant feelings towards a person, place, or thing. Important to note this emoji has never been used in relation to the DC Metro.

 

9. Money on my Mind – show others your appreciation for money through this little guy. Best used on payday — make it rain emojis.

 

10. The Dude – sunglasses make anything cooler – fact. Best used when accompanying an impressive feat, like scoring courtside Wizard tickets.

 

Now let’s use them in a sample conversation:

David: “Hey Scott, want to get KFC for dinner tonight?”

Scott:      

Translation: “Yikes. It disappoints me that you like that restaurant. Let’s go to Nando’s Peri Peri instead. They have delicious flame grilled chicken with a South African flair. Every time you eat there they give you coupons, so you can save money (which is cool). Nando’s keeps it 100, I love it there. Every time I eat Nando’s Peri Peri chicken feels like sailing off into the sunset.”

*This is not a paid promotion of Nando’s Peri Peri

Budgeting Done Right in the District

By Molly Farrell   

When I first moved into my apartment at WISH, I knew I was going to be doing a lot of cooking because going out to eat all the time was going to get expensive. In my opinion, cooking is so much more fun and healthier because you can make anything you want in the comfort of your own home. All you need is the right cooking tools and the right ingredients, then you’re set to make a delicious meal.

When I grocery shop in the city, I always come prepared with a shopping list so I don’t forget anything. It’s important to bring any coupons as well, so you can get the best deals. No matter which store I go to I look for the best prices, that way I am getting something for every penny I use. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve learned that going to the stores or markets in Woodley Park can be really expensive. Instead I go to Safeway or major grocery stores. But don’t get me wrong the stores near me are nice if I need two or three items to complete a meal I am making. Also, it’s walking distance, so I can get there quickly.

Another point to keep in mind: remember to keep your receipts, so you can reference back to them when you need to – even just to see how much you
spent for the next time you go to the store. I also found out that DC has a tax on plastic bags, so remember to bring reusable bags so you don’t get charged – that tax will add up really quickly.

Even though grocery shopping is a major element to budgeting, you also need to think about shopping and going to different places in the city. There are some great places to shop here, but you need to be cautious of what you buy because little by little it will add up. I suggest you go to different museums in the city instead. Most of them are free so take ad
vantage of them. Learning something might even be more fun than wasting money on another pointless shirt. “Think before you spend” is a line that people should remember while living in a city like DC.

In general, shopping or grocery shopping on a budget in DC is something that’s important and everyone should take note of. Keeping a budget is way more effective and enjoyable to do with friends. So the next time you are looking for a place to eat, or a clothing store to shop in, instead go be with your friends and live in the moment.