The Gap Year: Washington D.C.

I was a very nerdy child.

To put it in perspective for you, in 3rd grade, my career aspirations were clear: my only goal was to become a successful librarian. I just loved books so much that librarians seemed to have it made. Sit around and organize books ALL DAY? COUNT ME IN.

In 4th grade, my hero was Abigail Adams, the second First Lady of the United States. Never heard of her? Then you’re normal. Everyone else loved sports legends or celebrities, but 9-year-old Brenda was obsessed with the 13 colonies, the Revolutionary War, and the wife of President John Adams. COOL, BRENDA.

(Fun fact, I did some light research on Abigail Adams while writing this to feed my curiosity and to determine if she was actually a horrible person that I admired through the rose-colored glasses of revisionist history. But NOPE, little Brenda knew a thing or two. Abigail Adams was an early proponent of women’s rights and racial equality. GET ‘EM, ABIGAIL!)

All of this I say to help you understand my obsession with history, government, museums, and consequently, Washington DC. I have been enthralled with the nation’s capital since an early age, but somehow never had the opportunity to go. I begged my parents to take us there on summer vacation, even sending them detailed information on planning and budgeting for a potential trip (mind you, this was as a teenager), but to no avail. I didn’t get to go until this past May of 2016 as a 22-year-old.

So after all of that time, the waiting, the dreaming, the researching, it felt surreal to stand in front of the White House. I teared up, feeling like I was standing in front of something that molded me into the person I am now. Walking through the National Mall felt like a dream that I had been waiting my whole life to experience. I got to visit the History and Art Smithsonian museums and read as much information on plaques and in brochures as I could absorb.

In the nerdiest way, I felt like a kid again. Filling my brain to the brim with information, taking pictures of all of the government buildings that I have always admired in books, and walking the same streets that some of my heroes have walked, I felt like I was in heaven.

Takeaway: Sometimes, fulfilling your lifelong dreams is just as incredible as you always imagined it would be. Sometimes, having to wait much longer than you wanted to fulfill those dreams can pay off. So many times in life, we hold things in high esteem only to be disappointed when we finally reach them and discover that they are only shells of what we thought they were. But sometimes, it’s totally worth the wait when you finally reach your dreams and they’re even better than you were anticipating.


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