Mason Zurek ’16 – When I was signing up for this class, I was torn between whether or not to take it. I had yet to go on an immersion trip anywhere, but I had not gone on the fabled collegiate Spring Break trip. At the beginning of the immersion trip, as I received numerous Snapchats and texts about the sun, beach, and women, I feared I had made the wrong decision. I figured “Washington DC is not going anywhere soon, but I only have a couple Spring Breaks in college.” Yet, as the week went on, I realized the incredible opportunities that the immersion trip offered me.
Washington D.C. has rhetoric of every type present: political, journalism, media, and public opinion. We studied them all. The politics part is simple: DC is the center of politics in the United States. The Newseum offered a funny and entertaining perspective on journalism and media (there was an Anchorman exhibit). Public opinion was on display when we met with America Rising and heard the procedures and ways opinion is shaped during campaigns. DC is an incredibly rhetoric-rich environment and probably the best place to study for a major like myself.
From meeting with lobbyists who could contact some of the most powerful people in DC with a single phone call to chatting with Representative Messer, a Wabash Phi Delta Theta graduate, the people we met and the things we did were once in a lifetime events. I cannot foresee having another chance to tour the FBI or any of a number of things we did, and I realized the true beauty of the trip was networking: professionally and personally.
On the professional side, I was able to meet and connect with a large number of alumni who were more than happy to offer advice and their business card. Even better was their insight into life in the city and after college. I learned it is quite important to establish yourself young in order to advance later in life.
Personally, I was able to bond with my classmates and fellow Wabash brethren in a new way. The 14 of us went everywhere together and had some discussions that I never would have expected. The Democrats and Republicans sparred on a bunch of issues, gay marriage was debated, and the intricacies of Tinder were brought up at shockingly regular intervals. It was refreshing to go outside of my friend circle and connect so well with other Wallies.
In conclusion, I had an incredible trip. The meetings, camaraderie, and city itself were wonderful. Wabash Immersion Trips are experiences everyone needs to have before they graduate, even if you skip going to Florida. It is most definitely worth it.