It has been exactly two weeks since I arrived in Washington, DC and I absolutely LOVE it. This past week was a little different from the first week when it came to my internship, as I was able to go to a hearing and a briefing on the hill. Once again I never imagined I would enjoy attending hearings and such on the hill, I do not usually consider myself a political person. Tuesday was a normal day in the office, various projects and continuing our work with the One Walk Conference. On Wednesday we had a meeting with the Regulatory Team. During this meeting we were explained what the regulatory team does and were able to ask questions. Much of the meeting was about insulin, which you inhale; it is hopefully going to be approved in the near future. Since all of the interns have type one, we were all interested in hearing more. Our meeting was only an hour long, though we could have kept going for another hour, but we had a second meeting with the legislative team as more of an introduction. JDRF Advocacy is very passionate about their work; therefore they want us to learn about every team and aspect of it. Throughout the summer we will be able to meet with the different teams and get updates and gain insight to what they are doing.
On Thursday Mia, Anna, and myself were given the opportunity to attend a hearing on sexual assault on campuses. The hearing was very interesting and gave a lot of perspective on the issue. After the hearing we were not required to return to the office and decided to find a sports bar to watch the U.S. v. Germany game. While walking to the sports bar I made a comment out loud saying “well this is a nice steady hill” (it was hot and a hill was not what I wanted to be walking up) Mia replied in her very polite tone, “this is the hill” I stopped there and decided I should turn my filter back on and think before I speak! I think every other intern and worker in DC had the same idea. We watched the game with hundreds of our closest friends, standing around and cheering and even though we lost, everyone was rejoicing in the fact that we were still advancing!
On Friday we were given the opportunity to attend a briefing on the hill, the briefing was about the 2015 insurance premiums which are soon to be released. We arrived early without RSVP-ing, like many other interns and stood around waiting to see if anyone did not come who had a reservation. Anna and I were able to get in and we even got a seat at a table! (there was limited seating, and being interns you usually do not get first pick for these things) Going in I did not know what to expect. We were given a packet filled with papers and power point outlines with words and graphs I did not understand. There were four speakers, each talked for about fifteen minutes, followed by a half hour question and answer section. After the hour and a half lecture on insurance and what the providers are doing to make it better I was amazed. Everyone hears in the news how bad insurance companies are and trust me I am the first to say that dealing with them is horrible, but I learned that as consumers it is not fair to expect policies to change in one year, with flawless execution. In 2014 the ACA put new rules and regulations in place, causing insurance companies to have to change their policies. Going into 2015 they are working even harder to make it better for consumers, but there are still flaws. The companies need more data to put together plans to ensure they are making the right choices. Therefore this is a transition period, and the companies need more than a year to get it right. Basically, I walked out of the Dirksen Senate office building with a smile and a folder of knowledge, excited to call my mom to share what I had learned! Hopefully I will be able to attend more hearings and briefings on the hill, and learn more. One of my favorite parts of working at JDRF Advocacy is their push for us to learn about the city we are working in. Claire and Amanda have made it clear to look for briefings and hearings on the hill that we would want to attend as they are trying to incorporate us in what is going on, in a hands on way! I love this! Being able to leave early on certain days just to walk around and see different places, or go to the hill and listen to a hearing. I am thankful for their flexibility and empowerment to learn about this beautiful city we are living in, and not just working in.
Not only was my week very interesting, but also my weekend was entertaining. Friday afternoon I met up with a friend from college and her boyfriend, we had lunch and walked around the national mall. It was sweltering hot! But we did it. That night her two friends from high school joined us, we were able to grill out and enjoy a beautiful night on my rooftop.
On Saturday I attended the Quicken Loans National Golf Tournament in Bethesda, MD with my friend Jackson who is also interning in DC this summer. We started the day at the NoMa metro station, thinking it would be an easy metro ride to Bethesda, followed by a short taxi ride to the course we would definitely be there by 10! That was not the case; both of us forgot to check the weekend delays. The red line (our line) was under construction between many of the stops, therefore we had to ride a free shuttle to another stop then get back on the metro. Both of us could not stop laughing at the dysfunction of the travel. It was our first time on the bus, and it is not easy standing on those things! I think I almost fell over thirty times! Though Tiger didn’t make the cut, it was still very fun sitting on the tenth hole watching the other golfers play. Jackson and I shared many laughs (even though I am convinced he was laughing at me most of the time, between the traveling fiasco, to just walking and stumbling on myself, or thinking my eyes were burnt even though they were not) it was entertaining to say the least! We also walked around and watched some other holes, but the par 3 was the most fun. That night I went to dinner with my best friend Zachary, he was in the city visiting another friend from college and found time to get dinner with me! It was nice to have a little slice of home even if it was a short visit.
Saturday night was enjoyed on the roof once again, but with a different group! The Washington Center is an organization that has many interns working in the summer in DC with various companies. A few of the interns are living in my building and because I live on my own I’ve made friends with some of the people in this organization and have tons of fun hanging out with them! We have all decided to get together for the Fourth of July and enjoy fireworks at the National Mall. I cannot wait! I am starting to get the hang of living in DC and am starting to find friends and a home here! I apologize for the lack of funnies, I’m sure I will have some more come next week!