Politics and Spring Break?

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On the first Monday of Spring Break an abundance of college student found themselves in the likes of Punta Cana, Florida, Puerto Rico, a cruise to somewhere exotic, or generally someplace warm. Spring Break is a chance to relax and take your mind of the rigors and stresses of a taxing school year. So where was I on that Monday? Well, here’s where you are going to get a good laugh, I was in class, by choice.

Ok, let me give you some context before you jump to your judgments. Myself and a couple of my friends had decided to visit our friend Kelsey who was spending her senior spring semester studying at American University and interning with the Department of Education through Marist’s Political Science departments Washington Semester. Also, my brother is a freshman at American, and my mom told me if I went down to Washington I had to visit him too.

We took the five and half hour drive from Poughkeepsie to Washington D.C. on Saturday morning arriving in D.C. in the mid-afternoon. The temperature when we left Poughkeepsie was 28 degrees and when we arrived in D.C. it was a balmy 50 degrees, so take that Florida. Our base camp for the three-day visit was the always-luxurious Days Inn on Connecticut Avenue.

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As someone who had not been to D.C. since the sixth grade, I was excited to check out some of the more mature side of Washington, getting away from all the touristy stuff. So naturally our first stops were to the White House, Washington, Lincoln and World War II monuments. We walked around downtown Washington (didn’t get to see a motorcade) for the rest of Saturday and eventually made our way back to the hotel.

Sunday was filled with a trip to the Newseum (a journalism nerd’s dream come true) and a photo shoot outside of the Capital, much to my objection. Finally able to meet with my brother we had lunch at what we thought was a Chicago style pizza place however, with the consistent flow of Washington Capital jerseys we figured we should head on out before things got out of hand.

ImageSo this brings us back to Monday morning. Yup, on the first actual day of Spring Break I was up and on the Metro going to the Bloomberg building at 8:30 in the morning. I’m sure my fellow spring breakers were not even thinking of getting up for at least another five hours. For an aspiring political journalist getting to talk with a reporter and senior editor about how to cover Washington was well worth the pillow to the face from Eric to get me up in the morning. Getting a first-hand account of how to develop and maintain relationships with some of the most influential people in the country was really an amazing experience. This was followed up by a trip to the National Press Club; another journalism major’s dream, and some more walking around the D.C. area.

My last day in Washington was another whirlwind of places and people. We managed to somehow sneak our way onto a Capitol tour (for all the security and Capitol Police, it was really quite easy) and had a fantastic tour of one of our nations most prominent buildings. A quick dash to the Union Station, a bus ride to New York City and train ride later, I found myself back in Essex, CT.

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While I may not have been living up Spring Break in the traditional sense, I had amazing time in Washington, albeit short-lived. Even spending a few days down there gave me a sense of the energy and motivation needed to excel professionally in our nations capital.

At one point during the trip, either right after the Bloomberg tour or on the top floor of the National Press Club overlooking the White House, I turned to my friend Kelsey and told her “I need to be down here.”

So I will.

-Jeff Holmes

Marist ’14

@JHoot1

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