Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bonnie, Clyde and Jesse take DC

Guests bloggers here! Yes, we're two. Jesse is a busy girl accommodating all her friends who decide to visit to live vicariously through all her exciting city living!

After tea with the Obamas-- who knew she had met so many people in Washington, Jesse surprised us with a passionate, charismatic, motivation speech she gave to the Senate. She's running in the next election. VOTE FOR JESSE! But really, Jesse has had quite an exciting summer full of great opportunities.

I arrived Friday to Jesse's Georgetown dorm to be greeted by Jesse's suitemates. J was busy at work preparing for a big NFTE training session, so I ventured on the GUTS bus to find Jesse's M street work place. After being greeted by the nice doorman, I went to the fifth floor to meet Jesse and her coworkers. The office was bright, colorful and everyone was very welcoming. Jesse and I left her work place quarter after 5 to meet her suitemates for her one suitemate's birthday dinner! We went down to the water and ate at a delicious restaurant Fishers and Farmers with her suitemates and some of their friends. Jesse and I had a great time catching up before coming back for some homemade cupcakes to rival our trip on Saturday to Baked And Wired, a coffee bake shop.

Saturday morning: guest blogger number two arrived! And after parking her car, we hit the ground running! (aka boarded the bus and then the metro) A hop, a skip, and a jump later we arrived at the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery where we saw art exhibits ranging from 'Blue on White', a modern piece of blue paint on white canvas to classical presidential portraits. We all agreed our favorite section of the gallery was the portrait competition where our self-acclaimed art 'critic-ness' did not agree with competition judges regarding the final winner. But overall, we discovered we all have artist potential we plan to explore when we return to Chestertown by painting and creating modern, interpretative pieces.

After our art excursions and salad eating we decided we needed more intellectual stimulation. So, we decided to go shopping and empty our bank accounts! We trudged forth through the 120 degree Fahrenheit weather. Okay, it was only 103 but it felt like 200! After shopping for a considerable amount of time, we stopped to refuel and satisfy our throbbing sweet teeth at Baked and Wired. YUMMY! We savored every bite before heading back out into the heat and taking refuge in more shopping stores to escape. Dinner approached quickly and we ate at Pizzeria Paradiso to check off items on Jesse's 'to eat at' list. Although it was quite a burden, we do enjoy helping a friend accomplish her life long goals so we were happy to do it. A walk back from M street brought us back to Jesse's home base with all her suitemates!

Tomorrow, another exciting day is in store. You'll just have to check back in for all the details!

Guest Blogger #1: Bonnie
Guest Blogger #2: Clyde
Jesse as herself

Starring as Bonnie: Leah
Starring as Clyde: Colleen

Thank you to my wonderful guest bloggers! The cupcakes in the photo are from hello cupcake! in Dupont Circle. I picked them up on my way home from work earlier in the week so that we could celebrate Hayley's birthday on her actual birth day before we could all go out to dinner that weekend!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


So sorry to have been away so long. Seems I slacked off on most everything last weekend including sight-seeing. You heard right, I did no sight-seeing last weekend!!

I suppose I can't entirely take the blame. My committee's fundraiser (a book sale) was scheduled for last Saturday from 9am-12pm, but was postponed to Sunday at the last minute because of rain. Instead of going back to sleep, I chose to remain awake and do some much needed laundry. I also got way ahead in my reading for class: Locke, Smith, Carnegie, Washington and Jefferson.

This past week, I visited the DC Central Kitchen. The trip was extra-special considering I had just finished reading Robert Egger's book (the founder of the Kitchen). I am amazed by how efficient the Kitchen is. They are always finding new and creative ways to support their programs through earned revenue. I would love to take a group from the Service Council there to volunteer in the fall.

I also saw my first business plan pitch at a NFTE biz-camp this Friday. Alissa and Verice agreed that it was the best pitch competition that they had ever seen. It was really neat to see the NFTE students in action.

This week also brought me my first Personal Development Series (PDS) lecture. Thursday morning I listened to a panel of three professionals in test prep and admissions talk about tips for applying to graduate school. I have not come to any definite conclusion about graduate school, but I think I would prefer working for a few years before entering school again. I am not quite sure what kind of degree I would want to pursue so I think it might be best to get some experience in a field first.

I would probably pursue a position in some kind of direct service and then possibly go back to school for a degree in order to work in some more administrative position. I have been advised that direct service is a worthwhile endeavor because it lends perspective, but that direct service can also be tiring and thus, is not ideal in the long term. Basically, do it while you are young! {{It's a funny thing really, even most of those professionals who went right into graduate school after undergraduate, advise otherwise. Hm?}}

So, that brings me to this weekend. Colleen was supposed to visit on Friday night, but backed out last minute. She had the chance to make some money and took it. Really?

No, I'm just kidding. I totally understand. I would have too!

So after that I just had to sit in the apartment all Friday night, BY MYSELF. ((Ok, ok. Enough with the guilt trip.))

Hayley and Sara and I took a walk and ended up at Thomas Sweets by accident. ;)

Then on Saturday, I tried to make up for last weekend by heading out with Sara to the Newseum. The admission price was $20 which seems a little steep compared to the free Smithsonians, but it was totally worth it.

For one, the tickets are good for two days. Secondly, the place is huge and very, very neat.

We only got through one level (of six) when we decided we were hungry. Sara had already agreed to eat at Good Stuff Eatery with me, so we knew exactly where we were headed.....

yeah, about that.....

40 minutes and lots of questions later and a cab ride later, we ended up at Good Stuff. It's a burger joint owned and operated by Spike Mendelsohn (that guy from Top Chef). Anyway, people had raved about it and I had been dying to go since week one in DC.

Luckily, the huge line was worth it. My Obama burger was delicious as were the rosemary fries (not Sara's favorite) and the Toasted Marshmallow milkshake.

Once we were appropriately stuffed, we headed back to the Newseum for an hour and a half before they closed. We made our way to the top floor and snapped some photos with my camera (because both of our cameras were dead) of the awesome view. Then we went through the famous front page room, Pulitzer Prize photographs which were absolutely breathtaking and the 4-D movie.

At 5pm the Newseum closed and we headed back to the apartment to study for our Midterm.

This morning, I dragged Sara back to the Newseum with me to finish what we missed before. All in all, it was an awesome museum. It was very thought provoking with lots of hands-on exhibits, clean and newly furnished, had friendly staff and a great store. I think the food court must be pretty good too, seeing as it is catered by Wolfgang Puck, although we did not eat there.

The rest of the day has been spent studying. Yippee!

Can't believe I have only two weeks of work and one weekend left.

I am anxious to blow all of my savings on food and shopping when Leah gets here next weekend, oh, and then tell you all about it. :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rethinking my position

As promised, I will now attempt to synthesize some of the thoughts which have been brought on by my classes and intern experiences. For some of you, this means closing the page as fast as you can and returning to Facebook, but I hope you will give me a chance to explain myself.

After all, provoking these thoughts and reflections is intended be the core of my experience here and as much as I have been talking about all the exciting sites and delicious food {my brother thinks I sound like a food critic}, this summer has provided much more valuable experiences which have truly altered my conception of life.

Wow. That was a big statement. Let me clarify.

What I realize now, is that when I applied for this program I did so naively. I thought, "I like service. Why not?"

What I realize now, is that my conception of service-what it means, what it entails, its effects, its role in society-was incomplete. So incomplete in fact, that for some time I was embarrassed, ashamed of my ignorance.

For one, I, like many people, tended to think of service as wholly good while in truth, not all service is equal. Some service is more effective than other forms. Service can even be irresponsible and misguided, but we are often blind to this because we are not used to asking tough questions about philanthropy. Asking questions of philanthropic organizations is not a socially acceptable practice. You would raise some eyebrows if you demanded to know something like the ROI of a philanthropic organization whose mission is to help children cancer patients, but that kind of discerning judgment is exactly what we as generous Americans need to do!

This need is only extenuated in our tough economic times where money is tight and the demand for philanthropic services has gone up. Doing good is not an excuse for being inefficient. Non-profits should be (and need to be) held to the same standards that for-profit corporations are held to {{not that we've done a good job of that either, but that's an entry for another time}}

But, perhaps most damming was my conception of service as somehow a-political.

I have never been particularly politically engaged. I think I found politics too daunting to follow so I just declared it irrelevant, but if there is one thing this experience has taught me, it's that service is far from being a-political. Instead, it is inseparable.

I have been working toward this realization since I arrived in DC, but I think the idea cemented itself tonight in my Ethics class. We were analyzing John Locke's Second Treatise of Government. If you are not familiar with Locke his main argument is that human beings have two basic, natural rights which cannot be infringed upon by any other person. Namely, these rights are freedom and equality. He also believes in the very limited role of government, solely in the protection of property. If you follow it {which I do} then our society as it stands today, is way off track.

Have you ever really thought about how the society in which we live in today differs from the society established by our Founding Fathers?

I really had not until this course. To be honest, I really hadn't given much thought to where I stand on lots of issues, big, fundamental issues like the role of government.

In some of our earlier TFAS events we have been asked to identify our views on issues and determine our place on the political spectrum. I have been all but completely lost.

What am I?

In my mind there were always two options-Republican or Democrat-but now I've come to realize the complexity of the political arena.

As I grappled with these struggles to ascertain my views, I began to worry that I might be being hypocritical. How can I believe in the need for limited government and the duty to address the wealth disparity in our country? Might it be possible for some of my views derived from sociological perspectives to be incongruent with some of my philosophical views?

Indeed, I think it is.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

These feet were made for walkin'

Ah yes, walking: (v.) means of transportation by which a person relies on his or her own two feet [especially popular among city-folk]; prolonged walking often results in blisters and sore muscles

This weekend consisted of a lot of the aforementioned activity.

Michael arrived on Friday afternoon, via MegaBus {which he highly recommends might I add}. I am so proud of him for conquering the transit system: bus--> metro --> bus. Congrats!

That night my suitemates and I hosted a indoor barbecue of sorts. It was a total success, in no small part due to Hayley, who both conceptualized it and accomplished most of the logistics. We had a huge menu and hosted about 20 people in total. It did a lot to combat the reputation we had been earning as the anti-social room, or as Abby puts it "the old cat lady upstairs."

On Saturday, Michael and I woke early and ventured out on a long stroll down to Georgetown's waterfront and harbor. Then we made our way to Dupont Circle in search of the hotel my parents would be staying in, but our search was futile. We made it back to the apartment just in time to join the rest of my suite in going kayaking on the Potomac River. It was a very relaxing afternoon, but gave me a pretty funky shorts tan. Exhausted, we took the rest of the night easy until we headed out for dinner that night on Wisconsin. We settled on an Italian place called Paolo's. {{Did you know that Caesar dressing is made from fish? I didn't until that night when Michael informed me after our Caesar salad came garnished with a piece of fish scale--yuck!}}

Sunday, July 4th, Michael and I attended the DC parade which runs along Constitution Ave. between 7th and 17th. I must admit, the parade fell short of my expectations. Perhaps my frustration was due in part to attempting to fight the masses in order to make our way along the sidewalks. Not to mention the extreme heat which plagued the entire weekend. We cut out before the end and slipped into a Cosi to cool off.

{{Michael and I have started playing a game when we are out and about in the city: if you spot one of the following-a Cosi, a Starbucks or a CVS-you have to try to spot the other two. I'd venture to say that nine times out of ten you will succeed}}

From the Cosi, we WALKED to meet my family at their hotel on Connecticut Ave. Take my word for it, it's a long walk.

But, it was totally worth it when we finally arrived to my family. The Hilton Washington where they stayed was very nice, but we quickly departed in search of some grub. We stumbled upon a Thai restaurant called Thaiphoon (how cute!). The restaurant had actually been recommended to me by my boss Alissa, but we had no intentions of going there that night. In fact, I didn't even know it was there. My family was eager to try some new food, something that isn't readily available back home.

Dinner was fabulous! We practically had the place to ourselves and the bill only came to around $60 for 6 people. The whole city seemed deserted because everyone had converged on the Mall for the fireworks that night.

We opted out of that option though and watched the fireworks from their hotel window. Although we had a pretty good view of the main fireworks, what made the experience so neat was the fact that we could see all the fireworks shows across the city and suburbs. Literally the entire skyline was light up.

The next day consisted of traditional tourist ventures, trekking the Mall and visiting some Smithsonians. Much to my dismay, we succumbed to a tourist restaurant, but everyone was just so tired and cranky that we had lost all motivation to find something better.

After some sustenance, we stopped in the American Museum of Art to visit the Norman Rockwell exhibit which opened this weekend. I am by no means a connoisseur of art, but I have aways admired Rockwell. I find myself captivated by his vivid portrayals of people; his paintings are stories in and of themselves. I had been dying to visit the exhibit since I learned of its presence last week so I really enjoyed myself.

Yesterday, marked the end of the long weekend. I met my parents for breakfast that morning before work at a little place called Firefly. I walk past it everyday and had been dying to try it.

I miss everyone and it was really great to see them, but I must admit that I really like the transition back into routine. I was feeling a little behind in work and life (laundry, housekeeping, etc.)

Today helped out with that as I was able to report to work late, giving me time for much needed catch-up. In fact, I didn't even go into the office. We took a site visit to a BizCamp, basically a condensed version of the NFTE curriculum to be taught in the summer. Then we had lunch with the two students who have advanced to the National Business Plan competition to be held in NY this October. I love meeting the NFTE students! They are so inspiring. Take Nina for example, she has her own photography business where she makes $35 per hour! In the next weeks I will be helping to prepare Nina and Aisha for the competition by combing through their business plans, matching them with a coach and sharpening their presentation.

Tomorrow brings another site visit to another BizCamp to meet more kids. YAY!

Whew! Wow, that was a long entry. That's what I get for neglecting this.

I promise to write again soon to tell you all about my Ethics class and all the reflections I have been having about my stances on philosophical and political and social issues.

Good night for now. Abby and I are going to back-to-back spinning and yoga tomorrow. All I can say is, wish me luck...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July First?!

Can't believe it is July 1st today!

I had my last Voluntary Associations class on Tuesday and begin Ethics today. I didn't have to go in to work yesterday which was a huge relief considering I have a final due tomorrow which consists of 2, 3-4 page papers. :0

But, today, it was back to work as usual. I finished up the portfolio for the Spring Business Plan Competition and worked a little with Nate on preparing a binder for Julie to take with her to NY when she meets with headquarters next week. It was surprisingly difficult to transition between management styles.

Luckily, Alissa gave me a great ending to my day by inviting me out for Starbucks. She wanted to check in with me about my internship experience, but she also gave me great advice and support about my future. I've been really frustrated lately because I feel increasing pressure to choose {or at least narrow} my career path. Quite a few of my recent experiences have made me think that perhaps I would be happiest in a direct service type field-something like teaching or nursing {although I don't want to be a nurse}. For quite a while I shied away from this interest because I thought it was too basic. Everyone likes doing those things, right?

Wrong. The more I talk to people, the more I realize that: maybe I am unique in my interests. I'd be curious to know what you all think. What do you see me doing?

Anyway, Alissa gave me a great assignment for tomorrow: find 5 Washington College alumni who live in the DC area who work in 5 different job fields and contact them to set up some kind of mock interview. Not only will this expose me to different jobs which I may have never thought of, but it is also NETWORKING, something which is especially important if I ever want a job in DC. That's funny, TFAS held a networking event last night...maybe that's the theme of this week.

Well, off to class! Can't wait to tell you all about my 4th of July weekend!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Change of Pace

Hello All-

For a change of pace, I thought I'd hand the reigns [or should I say the keyboard] over to someone new. So, here's my guest blogger. I won't tell you who it is, but it shouldn't be too hard to figure out. ;)
Oh, what to say, what to say, about DC this weekend. I arrived on Thursday night, just past midnight. I briefly met one of Jesse's suite-mates, Abby, and Abby's boyfriend Anuar. I say briefly because we were trying to get to bed since Jesse still had to go to work on Friday.
After our slumber, Jesse left for work and I decided to entertain myself with this little thing called the internet. I know, not the coolest thing I could have done. Luckily, Abby and Anuar were nice enough to join the cause of fighting my boredom; and they did quite a good job! Abby made lunch: frozen pizza from Trader Joe's, which was surprisingly delectable. Two other guys in the TFAS program came over for lunch and they were the source of some interesting conversations ranging from economics and feminism to movies and pop-culture. The topics varied so much that, at one point, we weren't sure if we were talking about Subway (the sandwich chain) or the subway (like the metro).

After lunch I went to pick Jesse up from work. I got to meet four of the women that she works with/for and they were all so nice. It was near impossible to walk out of that place without sporting a smile. The night brought us some shopping on M street until we stumbled upon a nice Vietnamese restaurant. We got a chicken dish and a fried rice dish, which sounded very similar to Chinese. It wasn't. I called it different. Jesse called it funky. These unfamiliar tastes grew on me after a few minutes. Unfortunately, I can't say the same happened for Jesse. Feeling bad about dinner, I insisted we visit two of Jesse's favorite friends... Ben and Jerry. We sat by the Potomac just before sunset and enjoyed dessert.

Saturday was more of a tourist day. We did all of the stereotypical tourist activities. We started with the Air and Space Museum before we ventured north, outside of the Smithsonian area. Having a revelation of hunger, we began seeking out a place to grab lunch. I was lucky to suggest a left turn at some point because we found a Tex-Mex place called Austin Grill where I made up for picking the Vietnamese place the previous night. We continued our tourism with seeing the major monuments and finished off with the White House before heading back to the apartment. We had a relaxing evening, watching a movie and finishing off some leftovers; I was in charge of finishing the Vietna... well, you know where this is going.

Today, Sunday, began with a trip to Eastern Market. Jesse has mentioned it earlier in the blog, but for her hometown followers I would like to mention that it is like a high-class Cowtown. We got free samples of some really tasty fruit. I was considering purchasing a t-shirt featuring a picture of two dogs talking: "Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?" "No, but it makes my mouth water." Jesse was efficient in talking me out of that purchase. After leaving the market, we wandered around until we decided to get brunch and this French place, Montmartre. Eggs Benedict will never be the same. Now, I'm sad to say that I have to pack my bag for the trip home. However, I'm very excited that I'm coming back in just five days. Thats right folks, I'll be spending the Fourth of July weekend in Washington, D.C.
...and i'm sure some very interesting stories will come from that weekend. So be sure to check back.
- Guest Blogger

In case you haven't figured it out by now, the guest blogger was Michael, my boyfriend of over five years now. He did such a good job of re-capping our weekend, that I only have a few things to add.

1. I must have "ice cream fanatic" written all over my face because the Ben & Jerry's employees were force feeding me ice cream from the moment I walked into the shop. I literally received five samples in the three minutes we were in the shop. In fact, if I had delayed my purchase decision any longer, I wouldn't have even had to have made a purchase because I would have been full from samples.

2. Michael and I realized earlier today that we didn't spend money on anything else besides transportation and food. I guess this could be either good or bad depending on how you look at it.

3. Speaking of food, we tried out Thomas Sweets, which is a sweet shop on Wisconsin that gets rave reviews. We split a tart yogurt which was good, but I definitely wanna head back and try something a little more traditional. My only complaint was the menu which was written haphazard on a chalkboard and was very difficult to read.

4. {this is definitely a side note} I finish up my first class on Tuesday and begin my second one on Thursday which means that I am almost half-way through my time here in D.C. :O

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Putting some emphasis on the "Live."

Ok, so today was super awesome and it isn't even over yet!

I got up at 6:10am to make it over to the gym with Abby for a 6:30am spinning class, my first, and let me tell you, it kicked my butt big-time!! I know that might not sound great to many of you, but we have been trying to be really good about fitting in workouts and the morning seems to be the best time. Anyway, it was a 45 minute class, but about 25 minutes into it, I just stopped listening to the instructor's directions. Forget ramping up the resistance, I was just trying to keep pedaling so I could make it through the class without looking like a wimp. I had already embarrassed myself enough last night when we went to the pool. Not only did I stick out like a sore thumb in my cleary-not-a-workout bikini, but then I ran into the lane divider. I am a terrible swimmer who can't swim in a straight line to save my soul. Oh well, the workout was good, so that's all that matters.

Then came work at 9:30am, where I finished up the portfolio for the Summit. Everyone liked it so much that I have been assigned at least two more portfolios for the business competitions this past year. :)
Then Alissa took a look at my resume and helped me make some adjustments. There are such mixed emotions when you have to change your resume. On the one hand, I was ecstatic that I had so much to include that I had to make my margins and font smaller, but on the other hand, it is so upsetting to have to omit things to make room for new ones. It's as if those things don't matter anymore, but in reality, I know they're still important because they were the stepping stones for my accomplishments to come.

The other part of my work day consisted of wrapping presents and preparing certificates for the end of the year Teacher Appreciation dinner. With all my preparation work, I was having a hard time accepting that fact that I wasn't going to be able to attend because of class. About half-way through the day, I just couldn't take it any more, so I emailed my professor and told him I had a work obligation and would not be able to attend class tonight. :O Are you shocked yet?

I know you might be thinking that this is totally unlike me and truthfully it is under normal circumstances. I am the first one to tell you that class is super important, but in this case, the experience of meeting these teachers was invaluable to understanding and appreciating the work that NFTE does. I promised myself when I accepted this summer internship program that I would make the most of it. The experience is three parts (live, learn, intern) for a reason!!

In the end, I am very happy with my decision. We ate at B. Smiths, a famous high-end soul food restaurant in Union Station. The food was great, especially the cheesecake. The waitress was super sweet and even boxed me a piece of sweet potato pie to take home (yum!). Plus, it's Araina's last hoorah as tomorrow is her last day. I'm really gonna miss that girl!

Now, I'm back at the apartment after a very long day, waiting for Michael to arrive. My mom sent him down with all kinds of goodies including homemade sausage and peppers leftover from my brother's graduation party (congrats Teej!)

Can't wait for him to get here! I'm not quite sure how I'm going to wait up because I'm super tired. I might just have to break into that piece of pie! ;)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I can't believe that it is Wednesday already! This week has been flying by. Mostly due to the fact that I was thinking/studying for my Voluntary Associations midterm yesterday (midterm?!). It was actually a nice distraction from the fact that Michael is coming tomorrow otherwise it would have seemed like a decade.

This week at work, I have been creating a portfolio recapping the Advanced Student Summit. We will send the packet to donors to show them how their money was used. The portfolio will also be really good material for my own personal portfolio, something to accompany my resume as proof of my work. As my work on the portfolio wraps up however, Alissa just appointed me as "expert of the national business presentations," which is still pretty cool despite the fact that it's a made-up title. This means that I will be point on preparing the two students who will act as the D.C. office representatives in the national business plan competition in October. First things first is evaluating their PowerPoint presentations and trying to adapt them with snazzier templates. Then I get to pick apart their plan and compile a list of questions to ask them regarding their business model. Finally, I'll help Alissa and Verice act as coaches. Cool, huh?

Well, I should get going. I am planning to make tacos tonight before class and lecture.

Can't wait til Michael gets here (especially because my mom promised to send down home-cooked meals with him!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Part Two: Cupcaking

To answer the question I left you with in my last post, "today" was Service Saturday. It's a day for students from all institutes within TFAS to go engage in a day of direct service for the community. I, along with around 30 other students, left at 8am to head out to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater DC. We helped clean out some closets and then we got to take a tour of the clubhouse. Fun Fact: Kids from the clubhouse were chosen to hang out with President Obama at the White House. During the visit, he promised them a visit to their clubhouse and then made good on his promise this past winter!!

cupcaking- (v.) to adventure out in search of a sweet delicious treat {see cupcake}

Finally made it to Georgetown Cupcake on Friday night where I ordered a Lava Fudge [for $2.50]. I highly recommend it, but it is only served on Friday and Sunday. Thanks to my fabulous roommates, I actually got to sample four cupcakes in total: a red velvet {which they are famous for}, a chocolate^3 and a chocolate birthday. All three of which were delicious and available every day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Part One: Something Deep

My, my, how this week has flown! In the hopes of keeping my entries somewhat brief (so you will actually read and enjoy them), I am going to break my week up into several entries!

First, let me tell you all about work. As you know, Monday was my first day. I have discovered a much shorter and easier route to work than that which I previously took. It only takes me about 30 minutes from point A to point B and is completely free, which means I can spend more on the weekends, hooray! {and let me tell you, there are plenty of things to spend money on here}

For sake of length, I'll only give you a brief description of what NFTE's mission is, but please read more {}. It's a really neat program. NFTE was founded by Steve Mariotti in 1987 to help at risk students stay in school by engaging them in a program which teaches entrepreneurship skills. It was founded on the premise that "street smarts" can very easily translate into entrepreneurial talent. I really like the program because it seems to be founded on the age old principle: if you catch a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Basically, helping people, help themselves.

Ok, here's where the something deep comes in. This theme has come up a lot in my classes; in my seminar class we are reading Robert Egger's "Begging for Change." It is a great, thought provoking book that asks us to take a good, hard look at the non-profit sector and simply demand more. {It's also an easy read and nothing too challenging for this summer ;) }
Too often, we are resigned to think that because our money is benefiting a "good cause," we shouldn't ask questions about an organization's plan for using the money in responsible, effective ways. The consequence: too many inefficient non-profits that only act as band-aids for big problems instead of attacking the root cause and getting people out of the cycle of dependency.

This theme has also surfaced in my Voluntary Associations class, where we have been talking about the role which voluntary associations play in our society, especially with regards to their relationship with the government and even more especially, about the right of the people to associate. Did you know, our right to associate is not specifically stated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights? Perhaps this is the case because it was simply understood as a natural and undeniable right, but more likely, this seems to suggest that there is something qualitatively different about the right to associate than other rights {like the right to freedom of speech, press, etc.} To clarify, aren't associations naturally destabilizing to a country and government? And, more specifically, how do non-profits play into all of this? Should they be completely independent of the government or government funded? The questions go on and on, but luckily, you don't have to answer them {that'll be my job on my midterm Tuesday} but I did want to pose them to you all because they represent the fundamental questions which our society is struggling to answer in our present time {think healthcare, insurance, etc.}.

Ok, ok, enough deep stuff...for now.

This week at work consisted of preparing for the Advanced Student Summit this Saturday {which should be wrapping up in just a few hours}. The Summit is a day of instruction for students who have completed the NFTE program in school (which culminates in constructing and presenting a business plan) and think that they may want to move forward and actually start their business. The forty students who were selected from high schools in the DC region got to choose two workshops from a list of four: introduction to QuickBooks, building a marketing plan, selling yourself and building an e-commerce website. The idea of the Summit is to give kids the skills they need to be successful while also serving as a reality check as to how complicated running a business really is. Needless to say, that after spending so much time preparing for the Summit this week, I was pretty bummed when I couldn't go today.

What's today, you ask? You'll just have to read my next entry to find out!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekend Wanderings

Hello to my three dutiful followers! I am so proud to call you my own.

Fabulous weekend here in D.C.

Dinner with Natalie on Friday was awesome! I made it there with no problem and the food was great, especially the garlic non (yum!). It tasted even better considering it was free. (Thanks Natalie!) Natalie gave me some great insider tips about what to see and where to eat. Can't wait to see her at the Meet Your Mentor Breakfast. After dinner I met up with Sara and Renee who were exploring M street. Before heading back to the apartment for the night, we stopped by Haagen Dazs. I tried the amaretto almond crunch and the java chip. De-lic-ous!

On Saturday, the three of us set out again, this time we visited two of the Smithsonian's: Natural History and American History. Considering I had just visited the Natural History museum in November [while in D.C. for the Homeless Walk with the Service Council], I found the American History museum a bit more interesting. My favorite exhibit featured the First Ladies, the highlight of which was their inaugural gowns. **FYI: Michelle Obama wore Jimmy Choos** We had some confusion about which way the buses were going, but luckily Sara is even better at asking shameless directions than I am. In fact, our direction asking turned into a conversation which almost got us into a bar that night. Ok, not really. Once we admitted that we weren't 21, it was pretty much game-over, but the moral of the story is: don't be afraid to ask for directions, you never know what it might get you.

Seeing as it didn't get us anywhere, I called it an early night and slept in on Sunday, only to wake up to the glorious smell of scrambled tortillas and eggs. Yes, you read correctly, scrambled tortilla and eggs. Abby and her oh, so adorable boyfriend Anuar, made us breakfast. After breakfast, Sara and I left Renee in bed and headed to Eastern Market. Eastern Market is a kind of farmers/flea market that takes place every Saturday and Sunday. It features lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as prepared foods. Sara and I each bought a fruit smoothie, which was a choice of three fruits and a simple syrup. So delicious {and healthy too}! [I've already decided that next time I am getting the empanadas. Who's with me?!]

Besides food, the Market also showcases lots of local artisans. Sara purchased a gorgeous photograph from a really talented photographer who had recently traveled to Thailand. I picked up a really pretty necklace that is a flower made from the shell of a clam with a small pink pearl for the center. We even bought some locally grown zucchini and squash for dinner. The man even offered us free whoopie pies :)) [which Sara had never had]. To top it off, I stumbled upon a great consignment shop called Clothes Encounters. I found a really fun top and great summer dress for work, which by the way is starting tomorrow (ah!).

That night, all five of us sat down for a meal of honey dijon chicken, rice and sauted zucchini and squash. If it sounds good, that's because it was good! All throughout dinner we remarked how great our situation is, as I doubt many other apartments were having dinner together.

We topped of our very busy weekend with a TFAS tour of the monuments. Tour buses took us on a ride through the city. We were able to get off the bus to see the Lincoln, Vietnam and Korean memorials. We asked several people to snap photographs of us, including two Asian tourists. One of the men even asked to have his picture taken with us!! How funny? Abby blamed it on Renee, explaining that they are often intrigued by all-American looking girls with blond hair.

With all of this re-cap, it is easy to forget that it's back to reality. No rest for the weary; work tomorrow!

I'll let you know how it goes!

P.S.-Pictures to come to this post soon. It's late now and I want to get a good nights sleep for the first day, but just wait 'til you see the Asian tourist. ;)

Friday, June 11, 2010

A True Urbanite

Those of you who know me well are keenly aware of my need for busy-ness, so it probably comes as no surprise that I have been getting increasing restless these last fews days as I wait anxiously to begin work.

Thanks to threatening rain, I spent Wednesday on the apartment sofa catching up on missed episodes of ABC's Private Practice accompanied by my good friends Ben and Jerry.

Luckily, the weather was much nicer yesterday and I was able to get out. First I walked to the Safeway on Wisconsin Street which is absolutely gorgeous and a pleasure to shop in. One of my favorite parts is taking the escalator up to the main floor. (I know, I know, I am such a dweeb). I even registered for my own Safeway Club card [which, by the way, earned me $10.51 worth of savings]. There is something about walking to the grocery store that makes me feel like a true urbanite.

When I got back to the room, I put my purchases to quick use and prepared a pot roast for that night which wasn't half bad. So far, so good on the whole "try not to starve" goal. In fact, perhaps I should change that goal to "don't gain 25 lbs." {ben&jerrys + skipping out on a run with Abby = pants not fitting, then again, it is just an excuse to go shopping :) }

Anyway, so after I put in the roast, I strolled down M street, the main shopping district of Georgetown. Most notable of the shops include Georgetown Cupcake, which is definitely on the list of things to experience. Hayley suggests the Red Velvet cupcake [a photo of which I have included so that you can all salivate, just think of it as incentive to come visit me!] There was always a HUGE anthropologie store and a cool vintage store called Annie Creamcheese.

Which brings me to today. This morning at 9am, we had our first project meeting. All IPVSers are split up into groups and responsible for the planning and execution of one fundraising event. My committee is in charge of a book sale. I volunteered to be on the subcommittee handling the organization of the books (surprise, surprise!). The money that we raise from our book sale will be combined with the money raised by the other groups and together, we will select one worthy recipient to receive it in the form of a grant to support youth and education. Super cool!
The book sale will take place on July 10th at the TFAS offices near Dupont Circle so be sure to come out if you can!

Tonight I will be meeting my mentor Natalie. The mentor program is another facet of the TFAS program in which TFAS students are matched up with a (possible) TFAS alumnus who is a working professional in the D.C. area. We will be meeting at Aroma, an Indian restaurant on I street. I've only ever had Indian food once, but I loved it, so am very excited because Natalie agreed to help me order. Sah-weeet. Gotta love help from an insider, which is hopefully what I can become in just a few short weeks!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jesse vs. Public Transit (Round 1)

And the winner is...ME!

Today I used two forms of public transit (bus and metro) with only minor hiccups.

Step #1: Take GUTS bus to Rosslyn Station.
**Big shout out to Abby for helping me actually get to the bus stop!** Waited while the bus driver appeared to inspect the tire, not a very reassuring sight for a r
ookie like me.

Step #2: Get to Rosslyn Metro Station from bus stop.
I kinda forgot that this step existed. Silly me. I now know that walking is ALWAYS involved in any set of directions. Luckily, I made friends with fellow TFASers who were headed to Rosslyn as well. Ok, maybe friends isn't the right way to describe it. More appropriately it was sort of a "follow behind inconspicuously" relationship. Regardless, I made it to Rosslyn.

Step #3: Buy a SmarTrip Card.
After mission: "follow behind inconspicuously," failed to provide me with the same success, I shamelessly asked the men inside the kiosk for help.

When I returned with my SmarTrip Card, I was terrified by what happened next: I swiped my card against the sensor and BAM, nothing. No green light. No opening doors.

I had been jipped!


I had been confused. Turns out that I was swiping my card against an outgoing turnstile instead of an ingoing one. Whoops! Don't worry; I had to make the mistake once again later in my trip to even realize what I had done this time.

Step #3.5: Face down the huge and very steep escalator at Rosslyn. {FYI: At 437 feet (133 m) the escalator to street level at the Rosslyn Metro station is the third longest continuous span escalator in the world. (Wikipedia)}

Step #4: Blue or orange line to Farragut W. Stop.

Step #5: Exit on the 18th street side.

Step #6: Head down on 18th street.
And the shameless request for directions continue: "Excuse me sir. Which way is M street?"

...And continue (on the way back this time). I must have looked pretty desperate because this time I even get a "good luck!"

In the end, all of the run-around was completely worth it because I did finally get to the office and meet my soon to be supervisor and co-workers who were all tremendously friendly and welcoming. I can't wait to start on Monday. That's right, Monday! Which means that while all of my other roommates are off to work tomorrow morning, I have five days of free-time to explore the city. There is so much to see and do. I will be sure to keep you posted!

P.S.-Thank you to all the wonderful Washingtonians for their patience! I couldn't have done it without you!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Greetings from Washington D.C.

Hello All!

Here it goes, my first blog entry ever! How fitting, for it comes at the start of what is sure to be a very exciting summer. Having said, this entry will be dedicated to filling you all in.

First, my name is Jesse Schaefer. I am a 19 year old, rising junior from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland and am majoring in Sociology. Please do not ask me: "What are you going to do with that?" because the truth is, that I do not know...yet. But, that is what this summer is all about, exploring an interest (passion?) of mine: service.

One of my favorite activities on campus is acting as co-chair of the Service Council so when I received an email from my advisor about a summer internship program called the Institute for Philanthropy and Voluntary Service (or IPVS as I will now call it), I was ecstatic. The program is one of four institutes sponsored by TFAS-The Fund for American Studies. IPVS provides undergraduates with the experience of a lifetime by hooking them up with a professional internship in Washington D.C. [To learn more about IPVS, you can visit ] Once I read about the program, I was hooked so, even though the program was already in its 'extended deadline,' I took a chance and applied. A few weeks later, lo and behold, I'm in!

So, after several months of waiting anxiously, I finally began my summer adventure yesterday on Sunday, June 6th, 2010, when I moved in to my apartment in Henle Village on the Georgetown University campus.

You see, the program is, as my blog's title suggests (Live.Learn.Intern), a three part experience. (And, no, I did not come up with that title, it's the program's slogan, but I could not think of anything more fitting to describe what this summer will be). OK, so back to my plans this summer. I will...

#1. be living in D.C. on the Georgetown campus. In fact, I live in an apartment with four other girls: Hayley, Sara, Abby and Renee. I am sure that they will come up later.

#2. be taking a total of 3 classes, 4 nights a week here at Georgetown.

#3. be working as an intern 5 days a week for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

If that's not enough to keep me busy, I don't know what is.

So, let the mayhem begin. Stick with me as I conquer the transit system and try not to starve while cooking for myself.

See you all next time,