By: Nick Galaida, TWC Media Intern from Cuyahoga Community College
As someone who plans to go into neuroscience, to study the human brain and nervous system, I often get asked why I decided to participate in the Republican National Convention (RNC) and now the Presidential Inauguration seminars through The Washington Center.
It’s about learning and experiencing.
I was excited to work the RNC for a few reasons, one being that the event was in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. I saw an excellent career opportunity and a chance to witness first-hand one of the most controversial events going on in the country. I didn’t consider the friendships I would make, the lessons I would learn, and the indelible memories I would create.
As an aspiring neuroscientist, I have learned that the human brain is remarkably plastic; it changes and evolves based on what a person experiences and how that person interprets what they experience. For this reason, a human being is almost entirely who they are because of what they have seen and done, which includes who they interact with. The RNC turned out to be a very stimulating experience for my own brain due to TWC’s diverse group of students from different cultures and parts of the globe.
I had assumed everyone at the RNC would be a political junkie, obsessed with politics; I had failed to consider that these people could actually be fun. Since the RNC, I have kept in touch with friends from around the country. One friend is from Boston, and when my Indians played his Red Sox in the Major League Baseball playoffs in October, we went back and forth trashing each other’s team.
John plans to run for political office in Massachusetts and could also prove to be an important career connection down the road, on top of being potentially a life-long friend. John has been the strongest relationship I have developed out of the RNC, but he is not the only person I was able to make connections with.
Each day, I had a standard set of questions I would ask each individual I interviewed; but the conversation rarely stuck to the basic four to five questions I needed for my assignment. The opportunity to learn personal details about people and their parts of the world served as a reminder that people are shaped by where they live. I get so accustomed to Cleveland as the way of life, but there are so many millions of people in the United States and billions around the world with different perspectives on life.
The most important lesson I learned from working the RNC is to take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to me. I had limited knowledge and rather lackluster interest in politics when I decided to join the TWC staff, but after a week of academic seminars and a week of working the convention as a media correspondent, I had gained an immense amount of knowledge as to how our political system operates. Now, I’m considering a career in politics at some point in my life. I also learned to always carry a Sharpie because you never know who you could meet. I was lucky to talk to Donald Trump Jr. for a brief moment, but I have no proof other than a blurry picture of his face that I took as he was walking away from me.
TWC gave me an amazing opportunity to be directly on the floor of the RNC. I was fortunate to create some wonderful memories: meeting celebrities, being on MSNBC, walking through all the backstage areas of the Quicken Loans Arena. But the best memories I created were a result of the people I worked with.
The events and the opportunities TWC provides its students with are incredible. The faculty leaders were always willing to help students succeed during the program. The staff and the faculty treated everyone as adults and did everything to make the RNC a safe, enjoyable and memorable experience for its students.
Now six months later, I am in Washington for TWC’s Inauguration seminar. I’m unbelievably excited to have the opportunity to participate in the TWC program. I’m looking forward to meeting new people, working with a well organized, friendly and helpful staff, and creating many more lifelong memories through the opportunities that TWC will provide for its students.