Olivia Solow-Niederman (Congresswoman Diana DeGette)

It has truly been a whirlwind of a few weeks here on Capitol Hill. From watching the House sit-in from the Gallery of the House of Representatives to seeing a Senate filibuster in person to celebrating monumental Supreme Court decisions on the Court’s steps, I’ve been fortunate to be at the front of all of the action. As an avid reader of the New York Times, I am still in shock that I have gone to numerous events that I see splashed across the newspaper’s headlines later that day.

In order to take advantage of all of the surprising moments that Washington, D.C. offers, I have been making a conscious effort to embrace spontaneity this summer. I tend to be a planner; I am detailed-oriented and like to be on schedule. However, in the fast-paced environment of the city, I have quickly realized that planning everything out is simply not always possible. To be open to all of the happenings in the city, I have challenged myself to step outside of my comfort zone and be open to the unexpected. So far, this attitude has led to me to attend interesting briefings in Congress (on topics ranging from the use of Photoshop in advertising to the prevention of human trafficking), to explore the most wonderful farmers markets, and to enjoy Beyoncé’s concert at M&T Stadium in Baltimore.

Still, in the midst of the thrill of these four weeks, some of the seemingly smaller details encompass my favorite parts of my Washington experience. In fact, one of the parts of my daily routine that I cherish the very most has proven to be the brief conversation that I have each and every morning with the man who hands out the local newspaper at the Pentagon City Metro Station. Although we only exchange a few words expressing our hopes that the other has a good day, this moment is always the highlight of my morning commute. In a city that is constantly moving and changing, I take refuge in the consistency and charm of this experience.

At this halfway point, my excitement about this summer continues to grow each day. There are still many items (both big and small) left on my constantly growing  D.C. bucket list, and I am looking forward to checking as many off as possible, as well as remaining open to unexpected additions to the list.



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