As my ride drove up to the Solaire apartment building in Silver Spring, Maryland around 2 pm this afternoon, the full reality of this opportunity had set in. I was finally here at the place that I would be staying at for the next ten days during the presidential inauguration seminar. I was exhausted, yet still the excitement of the whole experience made the tired feeling go away. As I checked in and received everything I would need for the next week, my nervousness and anticipation of the upcoming events grew. I retrieved my luggage and proceeded into the fancy building that I would call home for the next ten days. As I took the elevator up to the eleventh floor to my room, I realized I would be living the high life for the following days to come. I entered the apartment I would be sharing with three other people. I was in complete awe at how nice the accommodations were at the Solaire. I explored my new surroundings waiting for any of my three roommates to arrive to the shared apartment. About an hour later I met one of my new roommates from a college in Connecticut. The first thing I heard after stating I was from West Virginia was, “I can hear it in your accent.” Apparently what I thought sounded normal was an entirely different story to someone from another part of the United States. I had never really been told that I had an accent, but it was interesting to see that someone could detect where I was from simply by the way that I talked.
Being in this new area forced me to step out of my comfort zone and talk to new people and explore my new surroundings. Simply by talking with some of the students from other states, I learned that we share commonality while being from various parts of the United States. Blessed and excited no longer covered my feelings for this experience. This trip was to be much more than a presidential inauguration seminar. This would be a learning experience that would stay with me for many years to come. This day would be the start of something great.