It was my first foray into living anywhere with more than 5,000 people. What a culture shock!
I ate food everyday from the Marriott. Listened to some good 80s music like Duran Duran Hungry Like the Wolf and so much more. Watched the last episode of MASH. Found lifelong friends from all over the country all studying US Foreign Policy. Met a lot of girls from New York City. Did I mention US Foreign Policy? A lot of policy wonks.
Here are the sentences I wrote for my UTK professor back in 2013 during my first semester at UTK grad school about these five months:
In my junior year, I decided to take a special study of U.S. foreign policy in Washington, D.C. Those five months were huge in learning about urban culture and in learning that despite my rural upbringing, in an academic class, I could hold my own in discussions and papers.
I found self-confidence in Washington, D.C. In the classroom. In informal discussions after class. In the library researching. On the dance floors. In the clubs. In interviews with policy wonks. Learning how to flirt with girls from the city. Building a reputation. Driving in rush hour traffic. Managing DC circles. Riding a crowded bus or subway. A lot of self-confidence gained. A lot. I wasn't just some ole country hick at a dinky college in nowhere Iowa.
I took the chance. I applied for the program against all odds. I accepted the offer and went.
As a nod to my dancing days at DC clubs, here is a video of one of the bigger songs (besides the Duran Duran songs) -- new wave band Red Rockers from New Orleans singing China, China. Enjoy as I reminisce.