Coastal Carolina Student Intern "Awakened" to What Comes Next

Growth and independence have always been an important aspect of my life I wanted to improve. I have been very privileged to have great parents who continue to help me to where I am today. My first taste of independence was receiving keys to the house and my own car. Eventually, my independence led to going to college eleven hours away. To this date though, my biggest challenge has been living in Washington, DC. Having the responsibility of working nine to five, four days a week with the additional responsibility of classes has made me feel like an adult. In the past two months, I have grown more than I have in three years at college. I can only imagine how I will grow over the final few weeks!

My internship has opened my eyes to what “real life” is actually like. I was originally excited when I was getting ready to come to D.C. to intern, but it has shown me how easy I have had it! If I didn’t enjoy what I was doing here in D.C., I could see how people could easily become annoyed with their job. I have always had a general idea of how the workforce operated because I have had many jobs. It was a huge awakening though to see how much more difficult it truly is inside an office than at a restaurant. Seeing firsthand all the education and knowledge my coworkers have gained to get where they are now is astonishing. I thought that the degree I am currently receiving next spring would be sufficient to get a decent job. Now, I see how wrong I was. I have seen that many people do many more years of education just to receive an “okay” job in D.C. Living here has really awakened me to what I need to do in order to get where I want to be.

Coming to D.C. has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. All of the struggles that I have been experiencing have been for my own betterment. The amount of growth and strength I have gained will only continue to progress as my career continues. Blessed is the best way to describe how my life has been, and privileged is how I would describe it in the current state. I am not only scared, but I am excited to how my life will turn after this experience. D.C. has been a great stepping stone, and I will cherish what I have been through here to further my career.
— Joseph Paul Hartman, Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc intern and Coastal Carolina student