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.