Dear Mr. Fitzgerald:
I am thrilled to have had the opportunity of spending a semester in Washington D.C. to complete an internship with Swanson Communications. Throughout this semester I’ve learned a great deal about myself both professionally and mentally. I never would have had the opportunity to live this unique experience if it wasn’t without your expertise and guidance. The Washington Center program is a great experience for college students because it gives them the opportunity to learn about themselves, the “real world,” and have the opportunity to create a more professional, attractive resume for real world professionals.
When I arrived at the Washington Center I created a list of goals that I hoped to accomplish during my semester in D.C. I established academic, personal, and professional goals and feel that I did a more than adequate job of accomplishing these goals. I learned many different important things about myself during my semester here, but more importantly I think that I learned about what I want to do with my life. Not all of my revelations were purely individual, many of which were about the improvement of both friends and family. In my mind, these revelations have been the most important aspects of my time in Washington.
During my semester in our nation’s capitol I realized just how lucky I was at college in regards to having free time. I remember last semester saying to my mom, “I’m so busy, I don’t have free time to be doing all of these extra things.” After my semester in Washington, I realize that at school I have much more free time than I will after graduation when I have a job. That leads me to one of my revelations; I want to stay in academia for the rest of my life. With that, I utilized my strong time management skills in order to not only work thirty five hours per week, but also take one class for three hours every Monday night. Every Monday night I attended the Washington Center where I was enrolled in the course, “Essentials for Aspiring Leaders: A Washington Perspective.” My professor, Dr. Fred Keaton, did an adapt job at explaining the different theories of leadership and the most beneficial characteristics that leaders have. He also explained the different generations characteristics that myself, parents, and grandparents generations have. Although I already believe that I am a strong leader, I enjoyed the course because it simply re-solidified some of the traits that are most beneficial in order to be the most efficient leader possible. As part of my course requirements, I read “Getting to Yes” and “The Leadership Challenge.” Both of these books were great reads and I felt that they only helped in teaching the course. I also completed a mid-term test/paper that was twelve pages long in which I received an A+ on. I was extremely excited to receive this grade because there were no negative comments, only positive. I also had a mid term final presentation that I received an A on as well. I think that my success in this class shows just how much I’ve grown and improved as a person over the course of this semester.
During my semester in Washington D.C., I’ve also had to attend Presidential Lecture Series, Mass Communications events, and two Congressional speakers. In addition, I had to keep a weekly journal discussing what type of tasks I was responsible for at work. I also had to write to reflections papers on events that I attended. I think this is another example of my superior time management skills. I enjoyed some of the speakers, especially Coleman McCarthy, because they added to my fantastic Washington experience.
One of my most memorable experiences this semester was volunteering at the multi sclerosis Walk in D.C. I was a volunteer for this seven mile walk/run and my responsibilities were to help set up a booth with a drug representative. I also had to help direct participants to the check in location. The reason why this was so memorable was because one of my close friends here has a mother that suffers from this terrible disease. IT gave me the chance to give back to a welcoming community, but also help a disease that hits close to home to one of my friends.
The most important part of my experience this semester was the internship that I completed at Swanson Communications, a sports public relations firm. Some of my responsibilities include: creating media lists for campaigns, writing press releases, pitching to media outlets, and doing hours of research on clients. I also had to work cohesively with my co-workers in order to maximize our efficiency. I learned how the sports industry works and how in every aspect of our culture, media plays a huge part. One of our clients, IceLink Watch, is the perfect example of just how big a role the media plays in our culture. As a public relations firm, we essentially have some what of a say in what goes out on the news, newspapers, and magazines. This is a very fascinating concept that I’ve learned and I will forever look at the world in a different way.
Another important aspect of my experience was learning to be professional at all times. At both Washington Center events and Swanson Communications, I was required to dress professionally and show up in a timely manner. I enjoyed this experience of my life; however, I am ready to go back to being a kid again. My experience has really helped in guiding me towards a career in academia. I feel that it is a great career path because you get to learn, continue learning, and help others learn. This is such a self gratifying field and I think that it is the right path for me. I’ve also learned that to survive in a city such as Washington D.C., it is highly likely that you will have to sacrifice a personal life (family, free time) in favor of money. I don’t think this is one hundred percent true, but in many aspects of the big city, it is.
During my time in Washington D.C., I matured into a new person and learned a lot about myself. I had friends visit, experienced my 21st birthday, and visited all of the monuments. I also feel that I did an amazing job of staying in touch with my friends and family from home. One thing that I won’t forget in D.C. is all of the people and new friends that I met. I learned a great deal about people and the way the world works and realized that the world is such an enormous place. I want to continue to grow, learn, and experience and I think that the Washington Center was the perfect opportunity to start me on my venture. I would like to personally thank you for this experience and all of the opportunities that arose from it.