What Was I Doing in DC?June 24, 2019
I know it’s been a minute since I published a blog post, but I’m back! As many of you might already know, I spent the last two weeks in Washington, D.C. and my schedule was so packed that it didn’t allow for any blogging at all. In fact, I couldn’t even squeeze some time in to go take blogger-worthy pictures in front of the DC monuments and grand marble staircases! That’s when you know it’s real, am I right?
I touched on why I was in DC a little bit in Instagram captions, but I wanted to write a post about exactly why I was there and what I was doing for anyone curious/interested. This is a little different from the usual posts of highlighting trends, classic styles, brands, etc but as I’ve said before…to blog is to share life and this is mine.
If you’ve been around here for a while now, you know that I’m currently a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma working on getting my Master’s in International Relations. After undergrad, I spent 6 years in the career field and now at the age of 29 I’m a student again. Slightly weird sometimes, but it’s a field I’ve been passionate about my whole life and it’s also a topic I think I could just perpetually learn about. I literally never get tired of talking about it, doing research, writing papers on it, etc. I guess that’s how you know you picked the right thing! This last semester, I dove pretty deep into security policy and wound up realizing it was my preferred niche inside of IR so when a professor of mine told me that George Washington University was holding a Nuclear Security Boot Camp for two weeks in June and applications were open, I jumped on it. Number one, I used to live in DC and it’s my favorite U.S. city so I’ll pretty much take any excuse to go spend time there. Number two, nuclear security is one of the most relevant conversations facing international order right now and the field desperately needs more people becoming experts on it. Number three, I totally nerded out over the possibility of becoming one of those experts and gaining so much knowledge on something I’m very interested in. So, I applied, was accepted, and happily joined 26 other students from universities across the US in DC to dive into nuclear policy and the technical science behind it as well.
Every day started with a breakfast at the GW Law School building at 8:30 (which I skipped in order to get extra sleep haha) and lectures began at 9:00 a.m. Most days we would have various lectures until 5:00 p.m. and then either a reception or a documentary at night. I think all in all we maybe had 4 free nights where we could leave at 5:00 and spend the night doing whatever we wanted. There were also a few days spent outside of the GW campus; we visited the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the State Department (my fave, I was such a fan girl) and the Rayburn House building on the Hill (House Capitol offices and committee rooms). It was one of the most time-intensive things I’ve ever done in my life. There were very few breaks and most days, although lunch was brought in for us, we ate it while continuing to listen to speakers. So, as you can imagine, it was very mentally taxing to continue staying engaged as the days went on. Thankfully, the material was incredibly interesting to me and so I was able to maintain brain absorption even while running basically on empty for the second week. But, as exhausting as it was, I learned a WEALTH of knowledge and can now speak confidently about things I’d only previously had surface-level knowledge of, or no knowledge of at all. And that is a huge accomplishment.
Fun fact: if you add up all of the hours I spent actively learning nuclear security policy in two weeks – as in not counting free time, but time strictly spent learning – it would equal 87 hours. In a regular class setting, you spend an accumulative 45 hours on 1 class in a semester. So this means that GWU packed in almost a two-class semester….in two weeks. Mind. Blown.
Here’s a peek at the topics covered, in order of when we learned them:
-who has what and how much
-mutually assured destruction theory
-export controls and 123 agreements
-delivery systems and Triad
-weapon complex modernization
-India and Pakistan’s nuclear programs
-verification and forensics
-Nuclear Posture Review
-Russia and China’s nuclear programs
-nuclear energy policy
-nuclear waste policy
-nuclear energy security
-embassy views on nuclear policy
-North Korea’s nuclear program
-Iran and the Middle East nuclear programs
(no idea why the spacing wound up the way it did, but it indicates nothing other than I don’t know how to work tech haha)
Whew! It was a whirlwind, y’all. But thankfully, I was able to squeeze in some time to explore, eat, drink, shop and enjoy my favorite city. Not very much time, but honestly I’ll take what I can get. Every time I go back to DC I learn something new or discover something I never knew about.
The pictures featured in this post are a handful of the ones taken while I was in DC. Most are either older or not linkable on Shopstyle, but have no fear…I’ll be highlighting some of my top fashion finds from my shopping adventures in DC this week on the blog, so keep an eye out!
What would you like to learn about DC that you’d like to see me blog about? Drop suggestions in the comments below!
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