Final Thoughts

Zoe Rucinsky

If you’re a close friend of mine, you know that I always need to have a plan. I’ve planned on going to college for as long as I can remember, and attending UW-Madison since about 5th grade. I decided somewhere around 7th grade that I wanted to go into law or politics. From there, my interests blossomed. I’ve sought out every opportunity to prepare myself for success in my future field, so applying to this program was a no-brainer. I am double majoring in Political Science and Legal Studies, so a course centered around race and politics was very intriguing to me.  Everything about the program almost seemed too good to be true. I worked for weeks on my application, perfecting it. There was nothing more I wanted than to be studying in Washington D.C.

My first time visiting the           Washington Monument

In the days leading up to the program, I began to doubt myself. What if I found out I didn’t actually like politics or the district? What if this wasn’t what I wanted to do? These thoughts terrified me. I was so worried that I would fall out of love with law and politics, but I am proud to say the opposite happened. On one of the first nights, I confided in another student about these fears. It was comforting to know that we both had these thoughts and they scared both of us.

Farewell Dinner

With our classroom being right next to the United States Supreme Court, and across from the Capitol, it’s hard not to feel completely immersed in Washington D.C. We started each day in the classroom and followed our class time with a visit to a museum, historical site, or another excursion that related to our material. I loved being able to see our class material in action, and being able to recognize themes from class in everyday life. Overall, I really enjoyed how we connected what we learned in class to the excursions we experienced because it helped me understand the material in a deeper way.

Group photo at Mount Vernon

Our time in Washington D.C. helped me solidify my goals of earning my J.D. and working in our nation’s capitol. I had the honor of sharing this experience with other like-minded individuals who quickly became great friends.  It was inspiring and motivating to be alongside such driven and intelligent people. We spent our free days visiting more museums, exploring the district, and fostering friendships. In addition to the life-changing experience I’ve had here, I can wholeheartedly say I’ve rediscovered who I am and who I want to be.