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Interterm travel unforgettable learning experience

My day doesn’t typically start by waking up at 3 a.m.

Nor does my day typically involve riding a jam-packed metro, getting hugged by a woman in a fur coat or standing in a crowd just shy of 1 million people.

I can say that it all happened once, when I had the amazing opportunity to witness the 2013 Presidential Inauguration.

Three weeks in January and three weeks following May commencement are dedicated to what is called Interterm at Doane. During this period, students have the opportunity to study through travel in the United States and abroad.

I chose to take advantage of this travel opportunity during January to Washington, D.C. and was introduced to the historical, political, cultural and journalistic world of the nation’s capital, culminating in covering the Inauguration of Barack Obama.

I must admit, I wasn’t able to see much of the actual Inauguration being in one of the back standing sections. (Actually the reason why the woman in the fur coat hugged me. She felt bad that I’m a whopping 5’4’’ and was hoping I could see the ceremony.)

Even though I had to balance on my tiptoes just in order to see the jumbotrons, being a part of the event and hearing the President’s address live was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. (Plus I got to hear Beyoncé lip-sync.)

The entire trip was one I will never forget.

As a journalism and media major, the trip consisted of cataloging our time in Washington, D.C., through different medium, and seemed like a perfect fit.

Not only did I get the chance to tour D.C. attractions such as the Washington and Lincoln Memorials, the Pentagon and historic Georgetown, I got a taste of journalism in the real world.

We saw inside NPR, CNN, CBS and had the chance to interview Sen. Mike Johanns.

My eyes were opened to the possibilities that lay ahead of me after I leave Doane.

While on the trip, I was able to write an article about Doane alumni who now live and work in Washington, D.C.. One alum had an internship at the White House and went on to write speeches for Sen. Johanns and another works at CNN.

Coming from a small town, at times I wondered if I am equipped to make it in a big city one day. Seeing the success other Doane alumni have had was encouraging. In fact, when talking to Chris Isham, the Washington, D.C., CBS Bureau Chief, he told our group that what he looked for in an intern was a good liberal arts education (not knowing we came from a liberal arts school), someone who has good critical thinking skills and has knowledge of current events.

The trip left me more confident and was an unforgettable, hands-on learning experience.

Being able to immerse myself in the culture of Washington, D.C., be a part of a historical event and get a glimpse of future possibilities was rewarding and one of the highlights of my Doane career so far.