Every Journey Has Bumps in the Road

Ashley's picture
Tue, 01/15/2013 - 10:07pm -- Ashley

        Sleep couldn’t come soon enough last night.  My eyelids drooped, and my muscles seemed uncooperative.  I fell asleep quickly; however, I jolted awake when my phone rang.  My nerves were on edge.  “Who could be calling me at this hour ?”, I thought.   Tears streamed down my face as my sister informed me that my grandpa had passed away.  I held my sobs for fear that I’d wake my roommate, and fitfully cried myself to sleep. 

                Upon waking in the morning, I knew that I was going to keep the information to myself. I didn’t want to burden the group with the information on the death of my grandpa. As I exited the metro, I found myself becoming overwhelmed with emotions.  I didn’t want to cry in front of these people, and I walked forward as fast as I could. I wanted to escape.  My plan didn’t work; how naïve of me to assume that one could hide such sadness of a loss of such an influential family member.  When I did inform various individuals, mainly Fairmont State students, about the passing of my grandfather, I wasn’t greeted with pity.  Instead, they showed me compassion and understanding.  They were extremely nice, but not overly pushy.  They gave me the support I needed.  Not only have I been blessed with this trip, but I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to meet wonderful individuals from Fairmont.

                The speakers today were extremely exciting.  The polarization between the political parties was expanded upon.  I always knew that having an understanding of politics is an essential part of being an informed American citizen; I didn’t know that it could be this exciting.  How lucky am I to be in Washington D.C. learning politics from the experts in the field? Not only am I learning about politics, but I am learning about culture. I’m learning through personal experiences. 

                One of the greatest opportunities that the Washington Center has provided me personally is giving me too roommates from a different college.  My roommates attend Quinnipiac University, and are eager to learn about the differences between where they live and where I live.  We talked about these differences for a good hour or two. We laughed at the stereotypes, and I was overjoyed to explain to them the cultural aspect of West Virginia.  I am proud to be from my state, and I am equally as proud to educate others about it.  Not only have I gained information about politics, but I have gained information regarding the diversity in American culture.  Each state has its own culture, with some if not all, having multiple cultures within their state.  While every state has commonalities, there are vast differences.  During our discussion, we covered topics such as poverty, stereotypes, education, and history.  I feel as though I am more enlightened because of it.  This experience overall is enlightening. Although there have been bumps in the road, I know where I’m supposed to be. I’m making my grandpa proud and hopefully many others as well.