TFAS alumna Amanda Pope welcomed the 49 participants of the Fall 2010 Capital Semester program as part of the orientation activites. While participating in the Fall 2008 program, she interned with USAID. Amanda is currently an associate with AccountAbility. Below are excerpts from her talk.
“My first day of the program was spent sitting at the Starbucks on Pennsylvania and 2nd, waiting to see who would walk by to register for housing that morning – a bit creepy I know, but I have never been good at Facebook so I had no idea what to expect.
It turns out the people I lived with during TFAS were the most thoughtful, passionate, intelligent and at times most outspoken individuals I have met. They challenged me both in the classroom and outside of it.
By the end of my program, I was far less creepy (I assure you) and had made life-long friends.
Your Capital Semester is not just about what you learn in the classroom. It is an opportunity to develop the professional skills that will help you begin to see yourself in a career.
So what is the secret to getting a job? Here is my short list of key pointers for your time in DC:
- Meet everyone you can. DC is one of the most open networking environments you will find. Attending TFAS events and setting up informational interviews are two great ways to find out more about your field, a specific company, or simply to learn how other people found their way. It’s all about who you know.
- Think about joining a club or volunteering with an organization relevant to your interests. There are groups for everything – I have engaged with Women’s groups on environment and energy and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The goal is to meet as many people as possible and learn about the opportunities and options.
- Fine tune your elevator speech. Think about yourself as the next hot item that you are responsible for selling in the same time or less than you would view a commercial. You should be able to talk about your interests, unique skills and do it with the charisma of a Shamwow info-mercial.
You have access to amazing resources in this program so take advantage of them. TFAS events are an opportunity to engage with alumni that have benefitted from this same program. Your fellow students are also a resource so take the time to get to know each other.
In the end, it will be up to you to take advantage of everything that is offered in this great city!”