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Student Life at American University

DC:A Nest of Opportunities

October 22, 2017|Posted in: DC Life

Gracie Burke is a freshman from Middletown, Deleware studying Political Science and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Choosing where to attend college is difficult for everyone, but in this post Gracie proves that her decision turned out to be a perfect choice!

Having grown up in a small, middle-of-nowhere town in Delaware, I knew I wanted to embark on a big city for college– and I couldn’t have been more right. For the past month and a half, I’ve seemingly fallen in love with DC a little more every day. From the quaint coffee shops scattered through the city to the beautiful colors of the downtown sky at sundown, DC has stolen my heart.

I didn’t choose DC just for the aesthetic, though. As a political science major and aspiring law student, DC just made the most sense. The connections are endless; the internships are numerous and having DC as a second classroom enhances my learning. I’m also majoring in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and surprisingly, DC has proven itself to be just as, if not more influential in this field of study.

The top of my list for feminist role models has looked the same for a while: Michelle Obama, Gloria Steinem, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Malala Yousafzai and Margaret Atwood. And if you told me two weeks ago that I would meet even one of these ladies I would have laughed… and possibly cried.

But somehow, after being in DC for only 40 days, I’ve met not one, but two of these heroines. Malala came to speak at American right before she left for college, and when her nomination for Wonk of the Year was announced, I couldn’t have been more proud. But then it got better. Last year, I had the amazing opportunity to intern at the Malala Fund as I finished up my senior year of high school. The night before she was to speak at AU, there was a staff dinner and they invited previous and current interns. With sweaty palms and a beating heart, I sat next to Malala eating curry chicken while talking about Oxford University, Justin Trudeau, and, believe it or not, Pinterest. She shared her excitement and nervousness about college, a feeling I knew all too well, and for a second, I forgot that she wasn’t just another 20 years old, but rather a prominent activist for the fight for girl’s education globally.

Just six days later I trekked downtown to participate in the March for Racial Justice and see inspiring women like Linda Sarsour and Gloria Steinem speak. I arrived early to be front row and stood, overwhelmed by the thought of being in their presence. Steinem, one of the last speakers of the event, graced the stage as a feminist white woman to remind the audience the importance of supporting intersectional feminism. I appreciated her honesty and awareness of her own privilege. I felt empowered and capable to make a difference in my life and others. After her speech, I rushed to the tent to get a picture with her. Two days later I was featured on her Instagram, and of course, the picture is now my phone background.

Meeting these two women so early on in my college career set the tone for my studies. I’m more energized and inspired than ever before. If I hadn’t chosen DC, I wouldn’t have made these indispensable memories. DC opens doors that don’t exist anywhere else, and I couldn’t be more excited for the next four years.

Posted by Admin

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