Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Time is moving at the speed of light!

Hello, Everyone! So lately time has been going by super fast. I only have 1 week left before I go home! It is a very bittersweet feeling because I am thoroughly enjoying myself here but at the same time I am happy to come home to my family and friends and finish out my senior year. With graduation fast approaching, my life will be changing again very soon! I cannot believe that I have gone through almost 4 years of college. Anyway here is an update on the last few weeks:

My roommate was fortunate enough to get us signed up for a White House tour! Unfortunately, we were assigned the 7:30 AM tour. After we stood in the windy and cold weather and went through 2 security checks, we finally got in! On our way in, we saw Obama's dog, Bo, frolicking in the grass...cutest thing ever. The tour was short and we only got to see a limited portion of the house but it was still exciting. Later that day, we went on a tour of the Pentagon. This was also a fascinating experience. They showed us where the plane hit on 9/11 and we also got to see the memorial. After our tour we went to the zoo. D.C. has been marketing the panda that they apparently have in their zoo but when we got there, no panda. In fact, we didn't get to see much of anything, I am assuming because it was too cold. The next day in our class, our teacher brought in a former CIA agent who talked briefly about his experiences. It was interesting to hear about a sector in our government that is usually kept under wraps.  On Friday, we got ready for our long weekend in NY. It was a beautiful day in D.C. and we didn't even need our coats! Anyway, the bus ride was quite long and we were stuck behind some very irritating people but we were happy to finally get to NY. That night my friend and I went to visit my family for dinner. The next morning we woke up bright and early and took the train into NYC. We visited Time Square, The Rockefeller Center/ Top of the Rock, 5th Avenue, Central Park all within 2 hours! For lunch we took the subway down to SoHo and had pizza and my favorite pizza place of all time, Bleeker Street Pizza. After, we walked around and found ourselves at Washington Square Park. The next day we went to the UN. Little did we know that the flags only go up on week days! We also went to the Public Library which was beautiful. Later we went shopping in SoHo. That night we decided to visit Time Square again and we took lots of lovely pictures. I went back to my aunt's house that night because my mom was coming to visit in the morning. I woke up to snow everywhere (it was so gorgeous!) and to my mom. It was great to see my mom for a few hours after not seeing her for so long. Before we knew it, Monday came and it was time to go back to D.C. We were so productive in NY that I wasn't able to catch up on sleep until close to the end of the following week.

My class on Friday was a great experience. Our professor brought in former UCDC students who now work in D.C. Hearing about their struggles and triumphs was very inspiring. I am considering moving out here and being able to hear their stories was awesome. On Saturday, we visited Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, and Old Town Alexandria. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave us great insight on everything D.C. related. We were able to see the changing of the gaurd at the Cemetery. This was a moving ceremony. Later our tour guide told us that one of the "unknown" soldiers was actually identified back in the 90's.  After visiting a few more grave sites, including the Kennedy's, we took the bus to Mount Vernon.I was exhausted but tried to take it all in. George Washington had one heck of a view of the Potomac from his backyard! That was probably my favorite part of the house tour. Once we were done at Mount Vernon we had lunch at this nasty buffet place where I almost mistook catfish for chicken (that is how tired I was!). Our next stop was Alexandria. My friends and I just walked around and got a good feel for the town. It was very cute and quaint with lots of families. I was so happy to see so many dogs! There are almost no dogs in D.C. =(.  The next day my roommates and I visited the Jefferson and FDR Memorial. I think my favorite memorial would have to be Jefferson's. I love how Jefferson is looking out towards the White House. After this weekend, we had pretty much done all of the touristy things in D.C. It only took 8 weeks!

The following week went by very quickly. I was mostly preoccupied with work and had very little time to explore the city. On Thursday, I got a very nice surprise! One of my closest friends came to visit. I was so happy to see a familiar face because I had starting getting homesick. I do love it here but I am at the point where I need to go home and regroup and refresh. I remember having this feeling when I was leaving my study abroad program in Madrid. Anyway, the following day another one of my closest friends flew in and we started doing all the touristy things all over, except 4 times as fast as before! We hit up Georgetown on Friday and of course had some cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes. That night we went out to Adam's Morgan and had a great time. We tried the falafel that everyone raved about and got hooked instantly! The next day we hit the ground running. Our first stop was the White House. From there we did the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean Memorial, the WW2 Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Capitol all before lunch! We stopped for lunch at my favorite Spanish tapas restaurant, Jaleo. Our other friends from the program met us there and we all had a very nice lunch. After lunch we went to the Archives then walked down to the Jefferson Memorial. By the time we were done at the Jefferson Memorial, the sun came down and we were able to experience the other memorials at night which is something I really wanted to do. It was beautiful. Before I knew it, the weekend was over and it was time for my friends to leave. I have a hard time saying bye to people even though I know I'll be seeing them soon. All in all, it was a lovely way to spend my last full weekend in D.C.

On to my work life:

For the past 3 weeks I have been rotating working on the same few projects. I have been mostly updating media lists for each of our clients which has taken up way more time than I had ever imagined. I have also been scanning editorial calendars and pitching reporters based on the topics the publications are planning on writing on. I have gotten much more comfortable with pitching. I am still working on getting the messaging right but I feel like I have made an improvement. I also had the opportunity to follow up with reporters over the phone. At first, I was very nervous thinking about talking to them. I realized that it was something I had to learn if I want to gain results and it definitely paid off. After following up with a reporter, I secured a briefing for one of our clients! This was one of my proudest moments thus far. When I got back from New York, I had a meeting with one of my supervisors who wanted to discuss my progress and what I wanted to see before the end of my internship. This was very helpful for me because I could get some feedback on my work so far. As I have been mentioning, this internship has been a challenge in some aspects. The meeting helped me realize certain things that I need to focus on. I have since worked on organizing my emails into folders, which is something I definitely need to incorporate in my private email accounts. I receive so many emails and sometimes they get lost in the mix. I have realized that in order to really bring my A game, I can't be missing out on any of these emails. It sounds so obvious but for some reason, it didn't occur to me. Another thing that I have been working on is using my resources before I ask questions. This also sounds so obvious, but when I work so close to my supervisors, I find myself just blurting out questions that I could have probably answered myself with a little more research. For the next week or so after this meeting, I continued to work on media lists but I also compiled 2 coverage reports for one of our clients and 1 awards list for our office. Today, I had a follow up meeting with my supervisor. We discussed my future and what skills they think I need to fine tune.This conversation got me thinking if PR is really for me. From my experiences at this internship, I do enjoy the dynamics, I just don't think tech PR is for me. I have been discussing career paths with one of my professors and he introduced the idea of working in politics/ the public sector. While I can see myself doing many things, I would definitely love to participate in a political campaign. Anyway, back to my internship, I have 2 days left. Since we have recently added 3 new clients, the office is going to start to get inundated with work but I am excited to see what it is like to start up a new client. All in all, I feel like I have learned many lessons from this internship. I was exposed to everything from winning new clients to losing clients to breaking major news for one of our clients. Working in a smaller office, I was able to get a glimpse of my future should I continue working in PR.

This week I have been busy again with work and getting my final papers done. I leave for New York on Sunday and will be back in California by the following Saturday. I cannot believe how fast this quarter has gone by. I am so thankful to have had this opportunity. Never in my life will I ever be able to still have the comfort of college life while working full time. I have met so many great people and have made some solid friendships. In short, my trip out here was very successful and I would suggest anyone who has an opportunity like this to take it as fast as possible! Anyway, I have more papers to write so I must end this extremely long and boring blog post. Hope you enjoyed it!