D.C. Experience

It has begun. The city of suits. The Hill of politics. The morning metro of young, driven professionals perpetually climbing the achievement ladder. Here, there is always a new performance, a fine food to taste, or an exhibit to explore. If you’re bored, you’re blind. I find myself thrown into the bustling city life of our nation’s Capitol, where my “y’all’s” don’t sound right and my wrung on the ladder feels low, but at least my walking pace fits it. This is Washington, D.C., and for the next three months, it is my home.
For those of you who don’t know what the day-to-day life of Jessica Compton looks like in this new season, I am living in a swanky pent-house apartment just across the Potomac. I have the Lutheran CollegeWashington Semester to thank for this unreal opportunity. The LCWS trifecta made up of Dr. Joyner, Laura, and Doug have been the springboard for the beginning of a great semester, providing central housing at a fraction of the going rate, two evening classes, and a field trip every Wednesday.
Here is my typical day.
Promptly at 7:50 a.m., I catch the metro to InternationalJustice Mission’s headquarters, where I am acclimating to an eight hour work day and learning the ins and outs of marketing and social media. I sit on intern row with eighteen other fantastic friends who also have a heart and work ethic to protect the poor from violence. We’re all learning the menial ropes of the corporate world together, like how to manage the Outlook calendar and navigate SharePoint. At 8:30 sharp, the whole office takes part in “stillness,” a time to pray, read scripture, and be filled by the Holy Spirit before the start of a very fast-paced day. My peppy, talented area coordinator, Karen, sets a task list for a whole two hours, and then what do we do? Pray more. This time we pray corporately for the ongoing cases throughout the world. Like most D.C. interns, my position is unpaid, but if I was an IJM employee, I would be paid to pray for an hour every day. How great is that?! It certainly is rare.
Most of my work lately has revolved around the final days before the launch of The Locust Effect,by Gary Haugen, the founder and president of IJM. It’s about how the problem of everyday violence is inhibiting the humanitarian aid already offered. I’ve heard many of the stories of the oppressed are unforgivingly real and difficult to digest, but it is an important, eye-opening new perspective in our approach to help the world’s most vulnerable. We can discover it together on February 3, the official launch date of the book.
Following lunch, I continue to bolster the marketing team until 5:30. Other than learning how to walk around the office in heels (DC’s professional “costume of credibility, as Gary calls it), I only have praise for my new internship. The IJM team values and takes care of the interns, and I am so grateful to be actively contributing in some small way to the work of justice.
I am also taking two night classes – Global Agenda on Monday and Public Relations on Wednesday. No, these are not your typical English major classes. I’m making it work for my curriculum, though. Since I’m exploring marketing, I figured I should also dip my feet into the parallel universe of PR. One of my goals for this semester is to gain some real clarity on where my future career may be headed. I’m not going to make some perfect, unrealistic plan, but I only have a year left until I am out in the unforgiving “real world,” and it’s time to figure some things out. You can also thank PR for regular future blog posts about my time in D.C. (nothing motivates me like a grade!)
It’s time for a little heart-to-heart, though. I am doing really well; I love all that there is to do and see for a dork like me. But this is about the last new transition I can handle for a while. I feel like a plant who is struggling to really flourish. Every time I start to settle in, when I really become comfortable and make good some friends, I am uprooted again. Even people who love adventures desire some stability. I am only just beginning to get to know my new roommates, much less the other students in the program. I am going to have to learn when to spend time with interns, when to hang out with LCWS students, and when to catch up with all of the Charleston, Roanoke, and Italy friends I’ve made prior to this semester. Life – it’s a balancing game isn’t it? I suppose all of that will work itself out as the days march on.
They will press forward, of this my life has taught me time and again. Here in D.C., I will do my best to keep in step with their patriotic time.

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