by Abby Bermeo (’24)
The first week of the Wake Washington Fall 2022 program has come and gone much faster than I had anticipated. This past week was packed with orientation meetings, classes, museum trips, and tours around the city. Just a few hours after everyone had unpacked and settled into their new apartments, we were starting orientation activities and getting to know each other. From then on, our group became fully immersed in getting to know DC and becoming more comfortable with our schedules and surroundings.
Our first week orientation meetings had alumni, mentors, lessons, and guest speakers. Each meeting brought us a better understanding about work life and culture and how we can make the most of our time here. Something special about Wake Forest is the lack of negative or competitive energy and the abundance of outreach and support. Every person I have met this week has met our group with such excitement and such a strong desire to support us in our personal and professional endeavors. Meeting the Wake Forest alumni who live in DC throughout the course of the week has brought me a sense of comfort and really created a welcoming atmosphere that our group truly appreciates.
Outside of our meetings and classes, we were able to explore many of the city’s staple tourist attractions, see the Nationals play, and attend a mural tour of the city. As someone who worked in the Capitol over the summer, I was more than thrilled to return there for our tour. Looking straight up at the top of the rotunda truly never gets old.
Aside from exploring the Capitol and watching the Nationals play, we were also able to see much of the Library of Congress and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Library of Congress is the type of place that is hard not to love. The design and décor is reminiscent of European churches and the Main Reading Room feels entirely magical. The Library brought to light many of the beauties of our country and the value of knowledge that we hold here. The museum was an enlightening and enriching experience, demonstrating many of the ways our country has not provided equality and peace for the black community. Beginning with the African Kingdoms of the 1400s and ending with Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama, the museum took us through the vast history of African Americans and the obstacles brought upon by a history of slavery and segregation. Both experiences showed the true colors of the nation and the significance of living in the US capital.
The first week came and went in the blink of an eye but brought all of us in the program a wave of excitement and a feeling of anticipation for the rest of the semester. For me, DC is a city I’ll never grow tired of and this week only reminded me of that. The first week showed me that DC has an excellent balance of work and play, patriotism and reflection, and adventure and stability. Our group of nine is incredible and works so well together; all nine of us are excited to see what is to come.