Friday, July 3, 2009

Leadership in DC, by Mitch Paschen

Washington DC is such a great city. Being here for this internship almost feels like a free vacation (we didn’t have to pay for airfare or lodging), so I feel that I should take advantage of it. I compiled a list of attractions that I wanted to see while in DC before I came, and so far, I have done about half of them. There has only been one day so far that I haven’t either been at work, or out seeing the sights and attractions of DC. Seeing these attractions with friends is much more fun than seeing them by oneself, so every weekend and free weekday that I have, I invite fellow interns to go explore the city with me.

Since I have been doing this every week, some of the other interns have started asking me what we are going to do each weekend. I’ll usually decide on an attraction or two, and we’ll go do it. Inviting other interns along has allowed me to enjoy such sights as the National Zoo, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, the Air and Space Museum, Union Station, the Supreme Court, Arlington Cemetery, the National Archives, Mount Vernon, and Gravelly point. Because we are all college students and like to explore, we sometimes go off the beaten path and see places that tourists don’t normally go see like Rosslyn and the Mount Vernon trail.

This week has been the biggest undertaking of the summer so far. Tonight, July 3rd, nine of us are going to a Washington Nationals baseball game. I organized and planned the whole thing. It all started last week when one other intern and I thought we should go to a baseball game while here. Tickets are cheap (mostly because the team is the worst in the major leagues), and it would be a fun time to hang with fellow interns. I decided on Friday, the 3rd, because everyone had work off that day, and there would be fireworks after the game. On Tuesday, one of my coworkers said that I should order tickets ahead of time to make sure that everyone sits together. On Tuesday night, after doing some research on the computer, found a great deal that is only available on Friday nights. Once I knew the price, I started going around and found as many AAPD interns as possible to invite to the game. In all, nine were interested.

I went online to order the tickets and had to talk to a representative from the Nationals on the phone because we were bringing two people in wheelchairs along. All in all, I spent 50 minutes on the phone during my lunch hour on Wednesday trying to get these tickets. It all proved worth it because we got nine seats all together. A newfound respect for those people who spend hours on the phone for customer service has been noted.

At work, I have been put in charge of keeping track where the new computer deployments go. I am also in charge of what types of computers all the users are using and where the old ones are going. I have to make sure that when we name a computer, a duplicate one is not used. I am currently in the process of compiling a spreadsheet of all currently used computer names. It is a daunting task. Being put in charge of this shows that I am not just another intern that gets grunt work passed on to them, but a full member of the support team for our facility.

Assuming a leadership role has been a great learning experience for me for the real world, and I want to thank all that have allowed me to do this.

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