Skip navigation

Adjusting to Life in D.C.

I was asked if I would consider continuing blogging to give a MELP Alumni perspective, and happily will I do so. Washington D.C. is about as different from South Royalton, Vermont as you can get. I started my new job as the Communications Coordinator for the Pinchot Institute for Conservation about 3 weeks ago, and it’s been quite an adjustment. Not only from South Royalton to D.C., but from student life to the 9-5. As anxious as I was to be done with schooling by the end of it, I have found the transition to be hard in ways I didn’t expect.

I picked an apartment in Silver Spring Maryland, on the red line, and I Metro to work every day. It’s not too bad, although it takes nearly an hour to get to the office from door to door. I have my own office (with a door and everything) which is awesome. Getting business cards was also a thrill, and I promptly handed out a bunch to all my “new friends” one night at happy hour.

The first week was full of paperwork, getting familiarized with all the systems like how to check my voicemails, etc. It was really exciting to be asked to tag along on some meetings my boss had at the EPA and USDA buildings. I got to listen in as we discussed options for biomass with the agency staff. It was also a great way to tour the city, via cab and Metro. I really like D.C. its full of trees (though it doesn’t hold a candle to VT) and the building codes prohibit high rises, so everything is mid rise, which seems to keep the skies more open.

I am learning time management, some days I have loads of work all at once, others I’m left compulsively checking email for lack of anything else to do. I am in a position that requires a lot of independent work, as opposed to following a list made and monitored by a supervisor. This lack of guidance and direction is at once very exciting, and somewhat distressing. Some days I’m appreciative of the freedom, others I feel like I’m a waste of space, and wish someone would tell me what to do.

My position requires me to do a lot of editing, and I put out a press release my second week on the job, which made me extremely grateful for the Environmental Writing and Advocacy course Laurie taught spring semester. It’s a bit of a stretch from Environmental Law, but oftentimes the policy aspects of what I learned are brought up in our program work. The Pinchot Institute focuses on non-partisan market-based solutions to environmental problems – functioning as a think-tank, rather than an advocacy group. (And yes, it is named after the great American forester Gifford Pinchot)

All in all, the first few weeks here have been a huge adjustment from sleepy Vermont, and being a student. I do enjoy it on the whole however, and it’s really only just the beginning…


Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.
%d bloggers like this: