Remember Spring break? You came to Washington D.C., on a simple 3 day trip put together by your school counselor. You’ve never been to DC before and were really excited to go. You had expectations for the trip and wanted to make sure you lived every moment of it.
And you sure did. You barely got any sleep, mesmerized by city around you. No, you didn’t go to Mexico and partied the night away with the graduating seniors. You had a little something different in mind. Instead of flip flops and ocean waters, you were thinking more high heels and public transportation.
But nonetheless, you ventured out beyond the strict 9-5 program schedule the school had set for you. With every guest speaker you asked the questions no one dared to ask and challenged lawyers, officials, and journalists. You also took off into the city with nothing but a fare card, a map and the curiosity of the life time . You also finally got the opportunity to tour the Pentagon. A Muslim-hijabi with stingy questions stopping at every door, in every corridor asking the military official who was leading the tour, why. Like a child questioning everything, you didn’t stop. Who was there? you asked, What did they do? Why’d they do it? Why?
So you continued because you wanted to know more. For the next three days, your brain was on a lucid high. But like a free-trial to an elaborate program, your time in DC was quickly up. You were stripped from your privileges, put on a bus and was taken back to New Jersey. But your curiosity wasn’t satisfied. You look toward your friends during the 4 hour drive back and said firmly in your voice with no hesitation, “I’m coming back.” You didn’t think of summer plans or family obligations. Just like that, you made a promise. “I’m coming back.”
Exactly two months later and you were back, but this time you weren’t there for 3 days. You had 3 months. It proved to be a promise you successfully fulfilled. You quickly settled in and didn’t waste any time and dove straight into the city. You were a tourist once and didn’t plan on having that happening again.
A tourist you were not for you looked like everyone else in the crowd. A freshly pressed suit with a blackberry in one hand and your new ID in another, you continuously met with various professionals on a daily. You spoke with an array of ambassadors and foreign ministers. You had lunch with Al-Jazeera producers and mingled with corporate presidents. Your daily sights included various protests, historical buildings and breath-taking religious institutions of all faiths. You received insight from people have travelled the world and people who have never stepped out from D.C. The experience was immeasurable.
And now with your last bag being thrown in the trunk and mom yelling your name, you took one last look at the view. There was the Pentagon to your right, the Jefferson Memorial to your left and the road back home in between.
It’s been an amazing run, for the time elapsed has been forever imprinted into your career professionally, your heart culturally and has fed your soul spiritually. You made a promise that you’d come back 5 months ago. But now its time to make a different promise. A promise to share your experiences, educate the community back home and to become a mentor for your friends and family. You’ve been blessed and now it’s time to share that blessing by implementing the experiences into realities. DC wasn’t just an internship; it was a rough draft to a larger plan.
It took you 2 months to fulfill your first DC promise. Let’s see how long it’ll take for you to live up this one. I’ll admit it’ll require much more time and effort but the worlds waiting and change begins with home. You better get started.
A more polished, educated and motivated Rowaida