Madison Blackstock (U.S. Trade Representative)

To many Washington D.C. is a metonymy representing freedom, democracy, and progress – albeit slow progress – funneled through layers of bureaucracy I’m quickly learning.

The city itself beautiful, filled with larger than life buildings ripe with national significance and history. While the perfectly manicured lawns and intricate architectural features, like those seen on the Eisenhower Executive Building, certainly add to the city’s appeal; I’ve come to learn in my short time here that it’s the people that make the city.

To some this may sound shocking, as politicians, government service workers, and inhabitants are rarely, if ever,  praised for their contribution to a city’s culture. However, if I have learned anything over my time here, its that D.C. is different and so are the people that live within it.  In many ways D.C. reminds me of Vanderbilt. It’s filled with highly motivated people focused on making a difference, all the while seamlessly managing to excel both professionally and socially.

In short, my time here in D.C. has taught me that I can survive on my own, giving me renewed confidence in myself and my abilities. As much as I love Vandy, D.C. has bred within me a sense of readiness for the real world- just not quite one where I’m working more than forty hours a week for free. 🙂

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