Volunteering at Arlington National Cemetery gives Shayne Newman goose bumps.
Volunteering at Arlington National Cemetery gives Shayne Newman goose bumps.
First lady Michelle Obama was joined by dozens of children to promote better water-drinking habits.
Junior chefs whipped up healthy recipes for the third annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, earning them seats at the Kids’ State Dinner at the White House on Friday.
 
 
 

Semester in Washington Intern Blog

Jun 2, 2014

 

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Renee Pouissant greets a member of the Woman’s National Democratic Club on May 22 before speaking at a luncheon. She spoke about women’s progress. “I’m afraid we’re losing track of who we are and where we are going,” she said. SHFWire Photo by Sydnei Fryson.Click on photo to enlarge or download: Renee Pouissant greets a member of the Woman’s National Democratic Club on May 22 before speaking at a luncheon. She spoke about women’s progress. “I’m afraid we’re losing track of who we are and where we are going,” she said. SHFWire Photo by Sydnei Fryson.By Sydnei Fryson

In Washington, there are so many events going on at one time. Most times, it makes it hard to pick what you want to cover.

A recent week was kind of slow. From what I could tell, there weren’t really many interesting things going on in the city. But there was one particular event that caught my eye, a luncheon at the Woman’s National Democratic Club featuring Renee Poussaint.

I had definitely heard her name before, but I couldn’t exactly place where or how. So I Googled her name, read her bio and found out that Poussaint is an award-winning former network correspondent. She’s anchored the ABC’s evening news, substituting for Peter Jennings, and has done news segments on “Good Morning America.” This is a big deal! When she started to address the room, she captured my interest even more.

“I’m afraid that we’re losing track of who we are and where we are going,” Pouissant said. “And the media is helping us to do that, in part because stories about women tend to fall through the cracks, and they fall through the crack because for the most part, women are not the top ones in the board rooms, making the decisions.”

The more I let my mind marinate in her words, the more I realized, she was right. The experience just made me want to work harder to be at the top of my game. Women make up half of the population, and here standing in front of me, was a woman who succeeded against the odds. Yet, she still worked her way up from a job as a news writer at a TV station to an award-winning network correspondent and anchor. It was such a great experience.

The Woman’s National Democratic Club was founded to engage members (men as well) in public policy. It seemed fitting that she spoke there.

I was the only reporter who attended the event, but all of the ladies were really excited to have me there. Almost immediately, I got bombarded with questions about what organization I was with and where I went to school. I even met a lady who graduated from my school. We exchanged information because she wanted to make sure to keep in touch with me.

Pouissant was very well recognized by the crowd. Her insight on the media in today’s age was amazing. It seemed to make the audience stop and think about what she was saying. I know I did.

 

May 30, 2014

 

Click on photo to enlarge or download: As president of the United States, I’d conduct my press briefings with a healthy dose of sarcasm. “Oil? I don’t know anything about oil…” SHFWire photoClick on photo to enlarge or download: As president of the United States, I’d conduct my press briefings with a healthy dose of sarcasm. “Oil? I don’t know anything about oil…” SHFWire photoBy Ricardo Guillaume

After witnessing the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee up close and personal, I have a newfound appreciation for those middle school masters of the dictionary.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always thought the spelling bee was cool and watched here and there on ESPN when I could. But this week, I saw how much work the contestants put in.

The bee is a sport, and these athletes spend the whole year training their most important muscle, the brain.

Since Scripps runs the Bee, I was the D.C. correspondent for a Scripps paper in Abilene, Texas, the Abilene Reporter-News. I had the pleasure of reporting on 14-year-old Kate Miller, speller No. 232, as she made it to the finals, tying for eighth place.

Kate, her little brother and her parents are caring, wonderful people who embraced me as I chronicled her performance. I was proud of her for going that far.

In the end, two spellers became co-champions, for just the fourth time in the bee’s history. As they went back and forth, neck-and-neck, my reporter hat disappeared, and I became a cheering fan, jumping up and down at each word spelled correctly. I took this video and tweeted this picture.

Click on photo to enlarge or download: This may sound stupid, but it’s amazing just how white the White House really is. Seriously, who keeps the place spotless? Not to mention how green the lawn is. SHFWire photo by Ricardo GuillaumeClick on photo to enlarge or download: This may sound stupid, but it’s amazing just how white the White House really is. Seriously, who keeps the place spotless? Not to mention how green the lawn is. SHFWire photo by Ricardo GuillaumeEarlier in the week, I saw on the White House schedule that the Seattle Seahawks would be visiting the White House to be honored for their Super Bowl victory.

The White House and something sports related – talk about killing two birds with one stone, amirite? The White House actually seemed kind of small when I saw it in person.

It’s still beautiful and serene (other than the guys walking around with giant automatic weapons). I even snapped a pic of Sunny, the Obama’s second dog, as he was being walked. Even though I would have preferred to see my beloved Patriots in the East Room, it was cool to see President Barack Obama joke around with Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll.

Canton, Ohio, is where NFL greats are enshrined in the hall of fame, and I suppose the Newseum is the hall of fame for feats in journalism. Madison Fantozzi and I explored the museum with excitement, like the two news nerds we are, going through exhibits on Sept. 11, the FBI and prize-winning photojournalism.

The legend of Ron Burgundy continued when walked through the Anchor Man exhibit. Sex Panther cologne was on display, but it was not available for purchase at the gift shop. I was devastated – I could use cologne that works all the time 60 percent of the time.

Click on photo to enlarge or download: President Franklin Roosevelt had a swimming pool built in the White House. The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room was built on top of it, and everyone who visits signs their names on the pool tiles downstairs. My John Hancock will be there forever, unless you know, someone writes over me. SHFWire photo by Ricardo GuillaumeClick on photo to enlarge or download: President Franklin Roosevelt had a swimming pool built in the White House. The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room was built on top of it, and everyone who visits signs their names on the pool tiles downstairs. My John Hancock will be there forever, unless you know, someone writes over me. SHFWire photo by Ricardo Guillaume

May 27, 2014

 

By Madison Fantozzi

Before spending Memorial Day in Washington, the holiday was merely a day off from school or work. As a Floridian, it was also a day for the beach and barbeque.

I knew Memorial Day was in honor of the men and women who gave their lives for us to be wearing our American flag bikinis and drinking beer on a Monday. But did I ever honor them in the way they deserved?

Not before I spent my first Memorial Day in Washington.

Not before I stood among thousands of people along Constitution Avenue where they weren’t just posing with American flags for Instagram pictures, but waving them with pride for this country and in honor of those who have served it.

Not before I saw people mourning the loss of fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery –   their children, their brothers and sisters, their husbands and wives, their friends, their fellow soldiers.

I began Memorial Day weekend in Arlington, Va., where I watched a thousand soldiers of the Old Guard place American flags at 250,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery. The media was asked not to disturb the soldiers as they spent more than three hours fanned out across the 624-acre cemetery planting each flag one-foot into the hallowed ground of each gravestone.

I snapped my photos with discretion. I didn’t want to disturb the moments, personal and emotional, that not only the soldiers experienced, but also the people who were visiting the gravesites of their loved ones.

It was Section 60, where soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are buried, where I walked on a fine line of being a reporter and being a person. I couldn’t raise my camera to a man who cried in front of a tombstone of a soldier that had passed in Afghanistan in 2013.

As a journalist, I’ve been taught to be aggressive. Get the story and get the picture no matter what. But I was also taught ethics.

The stroll through the cemetery had my eyes welling with tears, even though I didn’t know a single body that laid there; I couldn’t imagine the amount of grief and sadness this man was experiencing.

Even with my long lens, I didn’t want to risk him spotting me. Even if he didn’t spot me, I would have felt some sort of guilt for intruding.

Maybe this is a feeling I need to overcome as a journalist. Maybe under different circumstances I would have felt OK. But I figured the media didn’t need another picture of a person grieving their loved one in Section 60.

I didn’t need that photo. I didn’t need to tell his story. I needed to let him be, as did the soldier who placed flags along that row. He skipped over the grave and returned later to honor the fallen soldier.

American flags dotting the greenery of the cemetery were a somber, yet beautiful site.

President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers on Monday. While I didn’t make the trip back to Arlington, I did attend the National Memorial Day Parade along Connecticut Avenue at the National Mall.

The parade wasn’t made up of typical floats and inflatable cartoon characters. Instead, there were marching bands and soldiers, service dogs and horses, antique Jeeps and helicopters, and muscle cars and motorcycles.

The number of American flags competed with that at Arlington National Cemetery. Each section of the parade honored soldiers from a different era.

One part, with a banner titling it “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive!” had dozens of people holding up the photos of their fallen ancestors.

Despite the 80-degree weather, veterans came out in full uniform, as did the marching band performers and the motorcyclists.

While the parade’s atmosphere was light and full of pride, I still felt the sense of honor each participant was upholding.

They weren’t just going through the motions. This day had significance to people – a significance that I had never experienced on the beaches in Florida.

May 21, 2014

 

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Teams Scripps Scribes and Running on Deadline survived the early morning 5K Capital Challenge race at Anacostia Park in Washington. SHFWire photoClick on photo to enlarge or download: Teams Scripps Scribes and Running on Deadline survived the early morning 5K Capital Challenge race at Anacostia Park in Washington. SHFWire photoBy Sekia Mangum

A year ago, I never thought I’d see myself running in a race, let alone a 5K. Not saying that I’m out of shape, because I work out often and I danced for Hampton University’s Majestic Dance Troupe, but the thought of actually competing against people who run all the time seemed a bit scary.

ACLI Capital Challenge held the 33rd annual 5K (just over 3 miles) team race Wednesday at Anacostia Park. I thought twice about agreeing to run with a team whose members I hadn’t even met when I first saw the email about the race. But then I said, “Hey, couldn’t hurt to burn a few calories.”

The morning of the race, I finally had a chance to meet the rest of the Scripps Scribes, our team name, and the other office team, Running on Deadline. Surprisingly, they were just as nervous as I was. I found out one of my teammates, Amarra Ghani, multimedia production assistant, had never run in a race, either!

So, by the time we arrived at the trail, I calmed down. We lined up and received our race numbers. About 10 minutes before the race, we lined up behind the starting line, and that’s when the nerves came rushing back.

They had us line up from fastest to slowest, and I immediately went to the back, simply because it was my first race so I wanted to observe everything. Most marathons I have seen on television start with a shot from a starter pistol, but this one had a whistle and it threw me off a bit.

Click on photo to enlarge or download: I’m proud of completing my first race and not coming in last at the 5K race Wednesday at Anacostia Park in Washington. And, I got this shirt. SHFWire photoClick on photo to enlarge or download: I’m proud of completing my first race and not coming in last at the 5K race Wednesday at Anacostia Park in Washington. And, I got this shirt. SHFWire photoI thought people would immediately start sprinting, but everyone was starting at a pretty decent pace, except the fast people in the front of course. I was thrilled when I found out the trail was extremely flat. Thankfully, they had markers each mile, so we were able to see how much we had completed.

About 100 teams of five people each, including at least one woman, ran the race. Each team included one member of Congress, or the Cabinet, or the vice president’s office, sub-cabinet, agency head, federal judge, on-air radio or TV journalist or print journalist.

Patrick Fernandez from team Coast Guard finished in first place with a time of 14:01. Before I even reached the water-stand checkpoint, Fernandez was sprinting back to the finish line. The first place female runner, Erin Taylor from Human Capitol Running Club, finished with a time of 17:43.

Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., were the top congressional finishers – Portman at 25:04 and Hagen at 35:15

Other runners were recognized with awards for placing and their participation.

All of my teammates from the Scripps News Bureau finished in 30 to 35 minutes. The one that brought the team together, Bartholomew Sullivan, who covers Washington for the company’s West Coast papers, was the first to finish from our team with a time of 24:01. Out of 30 print media teams, my team came in 19th place, while my colleagues' Running on Deadline team finished 29th.

By the last mile I was very tired, but I kept pushing. With about half mile left, I sprinted to the finish line completing the race at 32:42. The best part was that they provided food and water for us after. I will definitely look forward to other races in the future.

 

May 21, 2014

 

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Via Gypset houses Washington native Isabella Polles’ vintage finds, including dainty dresses and its recently debuted bridal collection. It sits atop Polles’ family’s Café Sorriso in Woodley Park. I couldn’t resist this dress, especially for $9. SHFWire photo by Madison FantozziClick on photo to enlarge or download: Via Gypset houses Washington native Isabella Polles’ vintage finds, including dainty dresses and its recently debuted bridal collection. It sits atop Polles’ family’s Café Sorriso in Woodley Park. I couldn’t resist this dress, especially for $9. SHFWire photo by Madison Fantozzi

By Madison Fantozzi

Washington has centuries-old architecture and historic monuments to see. But the most charming sites are the vintage boutiques and thrift shops nestled into D.C.’s Victorian-era row houses.   

Most of them are hidden to the eye at street-level, but chalkboard signs, wind chimes and displays of knick knacks invite you into their second-floor or underground shops. Some are so cluttered with treasures they could be mistaken for your grandmother’s attic.

Via Gypset

2311 Calvert St. NW.

This boutique brings out my light, airy frilly-sock-wearing side. Maybe it was the Virgin Suicides-esque dress I thrifted from the shop Sunday, or the debut of its bridal collection. I still want to pair everything with Doc Martens, though.  

“Via” is the Latin word for street, and “Gypset” is a combination of gypsy and jet set. Together, the name represents fashion inspired by street style around the world with a lux aesthetic.

The shop is owned and stocked with the finds of Washington native Isabella Polles and sits atop her family’s Woodly Park eatery Café Sorriso. It has been rumored that you can snag a Karl Lagerfeld original if you’re lucky.

Luckily for me, the shop is located around the corner from my apartment, with new items added to the floor each day.

Meeps

2104 18th St. NW.

Cue VH1’s “I love the ‘80s” theme song. While this shop stocks vintage from the 1960s onward, it boasts an impressive collection of sequined bomber jackets, bold costume jewelry and neon print – dare I say – MC Hammer pants.

I couldn’t resist smiley face earrings

Its “cosmic” costume closet has outfits for all of your era-themed party needs, from 1920s flapper dresses to 1990s hip-hop tracksuits. But on the hunt for more everyday wear, the sales associate pointed me in the direction of U Street.

Junction

1510 U St. NW.

Retro-inspired sunnies are the shop’s centerpiece – and with a two-for-$30 deal, they are hard to resist. The floor has pieces from the 1930s onward, and accessories line shelves and side tables throughout the shop – brooches, cuff links, bowties and more.

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Combat boots and leather loafers are abundant at Dr. K’s Vintage on U Street. The shop is predominately menswear, featuring moto jackets, plaid flannels and Levi denim. SHFWire photo by Madison FantozziClick on photo to enlarge or download: Combat boots and leather loafers are abundant at Dr. K’s Vintage on U Street. The shop is predominately menswear, featuring moto jackets, plaid flannels and Levi denim. SHFWire photo by Madison FantozziBut the shop offers more than vintage fashion. A display case of $1 antique medicine bottles, postcards and and porcelain owls welcomed me inside where there’s plenty of home décor.

Dr. K's Vintage

1534 U St. NW.

Down the block is a spot for the fashionistos.

Dr. K’s Vintage is predominately menswear, but still a perfect stop for the ladies looking for broken-in combat boots, weathered moto jackets, leather knapsacks and old-school Levi’s to cut into high-waisted shorts for summer.

The store is narrow, but dense. At one point, you’ll end up rummaging through items in the bathroom, which has merchandise mixed in with what seems to be the owner’s stash of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Franzia boxed wine.

Joint Custody

1530 U St. NW.

One of the last stops on my first consignment crawl through Washington was to this little shop of horrors.

Part clothing, part record store, this shop has vintage concert T shirts, Doc Martens and Creepers. Its record selection is diverse, including thrash metal, psychedelic rock, rare soul, hip hop and jazz.

I had my eye on a 1985 Rush Power Windows tour shirt, but it was $60. The “Thriller” shirt was $120.

But my favorite items are the miniscule, the oddities. I bought a 1986 Garbage Pail Kids pin. Warning: It’s not for the easily squeamish.

Whether your look is dainty, grungy or somewhere in between, these Washington shops will have something to inspire your fashion sense.

 

May 19, 2014

 

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Georgetown on Saturday was a beehive of activity. Georgetown University graduates were taking victory strolls in their cap and gowns, families and friends were shopping and making the rounds from Nike Town to Ralph Lauren, and one guy was cruising by in a vintage three-wheeled car. SHFWire photo by Ricardo GuillaumeClick on photo to enlarge or download: Georgetown on Saturday was a beehive of activity. Georgetown University graduates were taking victory strolls in their cap and gowns, families and friends were shopping and making the rounds from Nike Town to Ralph Lauren, and one guy was cruising by in a vintage three-wheeled car. SHFWire photo by Ricardo GuillaumeBy Ricardo Guillaume

Binge watching the first two seasons of “House of Cards” may not be the best way to get a first impression of Washington. Or then again, maybe it was. Kevin Spacey plays Frank Underwood, a fast-talking House majority whip ascending up the legislative branch, leaving adversaries wondering what hit them in his path of manipulative destruction.

Even if some real members of Congress enjoy the show, I can’t say that I believe what happens in the show is what really takes place in congressional inner-circles.

What I can say though, is that people in Washington in real life are pretty nice. Whether it was the woman in the elevator saying “I like your suit” or another neighbor telling me that my roommate and I could ask him and his girlfriend for anything we need, D.C. has welcomed me with great hospitality. One couple even said “follow us” when I asked them where the nearest Metro station was. People here are well versed in the art of dealing with tourists and never seem to be annoyed by it.

It felt good to write my first story, get it published and have it picked up, and now I have to keep the momentum going. I want to cover a wide range of stories during my time here (politics, sports, race, women’s rights, LGBT rights, religion) all the while being in different locations.

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Saturday night I paid a visit to the Washington Monument with my fellow interns. I tried to give the monument a hug but didn’t quite make it all the way around. SHFWire photo by Sekia MangumClick on photo to enlarge or download: Saturday night I paid a visit to the Washington Monument with my fellow interns. I tried to give the monument a hug but didn’t quite make it all the way around. SHFWire photo by Sekia MangumSo far I’ve checked a couple of sites off of my D.C. bucket list – I admired the art at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and traced the evolution of animals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. I remembered those lost visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, walked up to the Washington Monument (I gave it a hug) and I basked in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial at night. The White House, Martin Luther King Jr. Monument, Pentagon, Ford’s Theatre and Newseum are next.

I’ve enjoyed exploring residential areas, too. Georgetown reminds me a lot of Faneuil Hall or Newbury Street back home in Beantown – a bunch of old brownstone buildings turned into expensive retail boutiques. Woodley Park is a vibrant neighborhood with a wide variety of take-out options (I can’t cook), and Adams Morgan comes to life at night with bars, karaoke and hookah spots everywhere you look. The only thing that’s missing is a BBQ joint like Freddy’s in “House of Cards,” where I can dine on juicy ribs while wearing my suit in the comfort of an alley. There has to be a way I can get that done.

 

 

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Legend has it that rubbing the nose of the bust of E.W. Scripps, founder of the E.W. Scripps Co. is good luck. How could I resist such a tradition? SHFWire photo by Carlos CobaClick on photo to enlarge or download: Legend has it that rubbing the nose of the bust of E.W. Scripps, founder of the E.W. Scripps Co. is good luck. How could I resist such a tradition? SHFWire photo by Carlos Coba

 

May 19, 2014

 

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Here I am with ESPN color analyst and sideline reporter Doris Burke at the Washington Wizards/Indiana Pacers playoff game. Burke has my dream job. SHFWire photoClick on photo to enlarge or download: Here I am with ESPN color analyst and sideline reporter Doris Burke at the Washington Wizards/Indiana Pacers playoff game. Burke has my dream job. SHFWire photoBy Sydnei Fryson

I never realized how important it is to make connections until this internship. It was a Wednesday afternoon, and since I’m really into sports, my editor suggested that I do a fan reaction piece about the Wizards being in the playoffs. There was only one problem, It was too late to attend as press.

As soon as my editor said that, I felt deflated. Of course, the one time that I’m in a city with a professional team, I wouldn’t be able to cover them. Then suddenly it hit me. I might be able to go after all. Along with working for my school’s newscast, I also write articles for a website called Elite Insiders that I created along with a couple of students from Howard University and Hampton University.

All members of the site who write have some kind of influential connections, all of which we are more than happy to share with each other. So I called my friend from the website, and he was able to get me a ticket to the game, along with a VIP pass.

The experience was amazing. That day, I didn’t just get to live out my dream as a sideline sports reporter. I had the privilege of being a VIP. At halftime, I went to a room where the VIPS were mingling, snacking on free food and buying drinks at the bar.

I got to meet rapper Wale, Washington football quarterback Robert Griffin III and ESPN sideline reporter Doris Burke. They were really nice, and posed for pictures with me.

Being in such an elite environment was amazing. You could tell that the people in the room had lots of money, which was a bit intimidating. But I just kept in mind that I had just as much of a right to be there as they did.

My favorite part of the night had to be meeting Burke. She has my dream job, and it was so nice just to be in her presence. But being a VIP didn’t guarantee a long conversation with her. The room was crowded, and I soon got interrupted, as more and more people realized that she was there. Everyone wanted a picture with the well-known celebrities, so I was easily pushed to the side.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience attending and covering my first NBA game. Even though the Wizards didn’t move on to round three of the playoffs, it was still an incredible experience. It was also crazy just knowing that I put myself in this position all because of my own connections. 

Click on photo to enlarge or download: I met with Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III at the Washington Wizards/Indiana Pacers playoff game. I got to say hi to him before the next person in the crowd move in for a selfie. SHFWire photoClick on photo to enlarge or download: I met with Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III at the Washington Wizards/Indiana Pacers playoff game. I got to say hi to him before the next person in the crowd move in for a selfie. SHFWire photo

 

 

 

Apr 11, 2014

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Saying goodbye to the White House before ending my internship. I will be back! SHFWire by Alejandro AlbaClick on photo to enlarge or download: Saying goodbye to the White House before ending my internship. I will be back! SHFWire by Alejandro AlbaBy Cathryn Walker

Somehow it is the final day of my Scripps Howard Foundation Wire internship and the spring semester has flown by. I imagined it would, but it’s still overwhelming thinking about how I now have to shift my mindset to the next chapter.

During my time in Washington I have had the privilege of reporting on high profile events at some of the most historically significant landmarks in the U.S. Each story I have reported on has left me feeling more enlightened or has altered my perspective.

My first trip to the White House was within my first week of the program and my first story assignment. I remember feeling as though the universe was telling me, “Welcome to Washington, yes, you’re really here.” President Barack Obama announced the creation of Promise Zones in five U.S. cities, one being San Antonio, which is where I attended high school. It was great to hear about changes happening in my city.

On the Hill, I attended several hearings and one that stood out to me covered the effects of solitary confinement. Testifying was Damon Thibodeaux, a man who was placed in solitary confinement 23 hours a day for 15 years for a crime he didn’t commit. He spoke on how dangerous it was that he never received any therapy before or after he was released back into the public. He saw men lose their minds from a lack of mental stimulation.

Another witness who testified was Piper Kerman, the author of Orange is the New Black, which is a book and now Netflix show based on her experience in an all-women’s prison. She gave the women’s perspective of how prison guards abused their power over them. A viewer of the show, hearing her story in-person was very powerful.

Another memorable story was when I covered a snowman competition on a frosty day. I trekked out to Dupont Circle with my camera equipment, layers of clothing, hand warmers and rain gear into the deserted and snowy streets. I expected to see a crowd of children at site but the participants of the contest were all adults. They were outside on their day off decorating snowmen in tutus, bikinis, fedoras, political signs and more.

Even though I was balancing keeping the camera equipment dry and trying to prevent my own body from freezing, the positive energy from the participants helped make a cold situation warmer. Reporting on this story taught me how important it is to smile and be a kid every once in a while and see the silver lining in a cold situation.

These are just a few of the impacting moments I’ve had in Washington. I could write a whole book elaborating on more. Coming to Washington for a semester was one of the best opportunities I have been granted and I am incredibly grateful. I learned more and grew more than I ever imagined.

I'm nervous about leaving because I'm headed into the "unknown," aka, the world of post-grad. But I'm excited because ventured into the unknown 14 weeks ago and it truly paid off.

Apr 11, 2014

Click on photo to enlarge or download: Enjoying the sun near the White House. SHFWire photo by Alejandro AlbaClick on photo to enlarge or download: Enjoying the sun near the White House. SHFWire photo by Alejandro AlbaBy Kritika Gadhvi

Hi! My name is Kritika or "KriKri" as my friends call me (it’s easier to pronounce). I'm from New Delhi, India. About six months ago I got an acceptance letter at 10 pm, telling me that I had been selected for the Scripps Howard Semester in Washington program.

And then it was just a matter of 7,479 miles. This internship has been a great learning experience for me. I got to discover and explore a new country. I had an amazing time covering stories from the White House and the Capitol. And learning about a culture so different than mine was a whole new aspect in itself.

Today is my last day at work and for some reason I am jittery. This roller coaster ride is almost over. A thousand and one questions are running through mind – will I ever come back to this wonderful place? Will I get to see my friends again? I am excited to go back home and see my friends and family again but, at the same time I kind of don’t want to leave.

This internship was everything and more than I could have hoped for. I got a chance to explore and enhance my potential. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I hope I can use these enhanced skills to make a difference in India.

I made some really great friends. We went around the city together and had an amazing time in D.C. We almost missed spring, though. I will miss them a lot, for sure.

I am going back with a lot more experience than I came here with. I just hope life keeps on surprising me and I keep meeting new and fun people.

As a final goodbye to my friends, this city and this blog – I had a lovely time here and I learned a lot. There is more to this world than what meets the eye. I will continue to pursue what I like because You Only Live Once.

Goodbye! Namaste! Khuda Hafiz! 

Apr 11, 2014

Click on photo to enlarge or download: At Ohio University, we have the same bust of the amazing Mr. Edward Willis Scripps, the founder of the E.W. Scripps Co. It is tradition to rub good old E.W.’s nose for good luck. SHFWire photo by Cathryn WalkerClick on photo to enlarge or download: At Ohio University, we have the same bust of the amazing Mr. Edward Willis Scripps, the founder of the E.W. Scripps Co. It is tradition to rub good old E.W.’s nose for good luck. SHFWire photo by Cathryn WalkerBy Caitlin Turner

A mentor of mine once told me you can’t screw up your life before the age of 35 because everything you do is a lesson. Now that my time with the Scripps Howard Foundation internship  is ending, I find myself agreeing with those words.

When I first applied to work for the foundation, I was pretty sure my chances of coming back to Washington were slim. I have no idea why I felt that way, but I did.

I was accepted to the program during finals week. I was halfway through writing a paper when I got an email saying I was going back to my favorite city a few months after my summer internship for NY1.

I don’t condone what I did next, because I immediately stopped writing and went out to celebrate. Stay in school, kids.

My decision to leave for Washington instead of staying in Athens, Ohio, for my last semester of college was not an easy one. Although I had the support of my family and friends, it was no secret that they wanted me to stick around.

But I knew myself well enough to know that I was in need of a challenge. I’m at a point in my life when it is OK to take chances because when else will I take them?

I couldn’t have made a better decision. I got to march with people protesting abortion, stand 10 feet from President Barack Obama in the White House, see his State of the Union Address and live and work with people I can now call lifelong friends.

I spent most of my time here with Alejandro, Cathryn, Melhor and Kritika. I like to think of the five of us as this tight, sarcastic gang whose members never miss an opportunity to embarrass themselves and don’t care when they do.

From touring the city, to singing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” in a karaoke bar, they were my shoulders to lean on and the people who would laugh at my terrible jokes. I am forever grateful that we were all here at the same time.

Fourteen weeks ago, I would have said this program was going to last forever. Now that it is over, I feel like the time flew by.

Looking ahead to the future is terrifying. I feel like I’m in a car headed toward a cliff. This is the first time in a long time that I don’t have definite life plans.

I’ll be graduating from Ohio University in less than a month, and it is surreal. Athens has been my home for four beautiful years. College has been one of the best adventures of my life. Why is it mandatory that I leave? Sure, my parents wouldn’t be pleased if I became a fifth year senior, but why should that matter? I can see my mom rolling her eyes as she reads this.

The months ahead will be interesting. I’m sure that my emotional stability will waiver as I figure out where I will work and live, how to consistently do laundry and stop buying pizza Lunchables so I can afford whole grain bread and do other things I consider to be adult behavior.

But I am so happy that I have this experience with Scripps Howard in my pocket. At this point, I know that if I can report from Washington, I can report from anywhere. Here’s to this adventure and many more.

 

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