Student Life: Student Stories

Spelman Spring

Student Stories

Shelby P. Smith - American University

November 2015

shelbysmithI am becoming very familiar with Washington, D.C., and navigating the city has gotten much easier. I am still enjoying my internship and course load. We have conducted many site visits featuring a lot of speakers, many of whom are senate and house members, judges and other workers on Capitol Hill.

Lately, we have heard from some very “interesting” people on the Hill -- our last speaker was a staunch Republican from Texas who told me that I was “well-spoken” when I posed a question. That was interesting.

Most of our speakers, regardless of political affiliation, talk to us more about their work on the Hill, current bills that are relevant to their work, and how they got to where they are in their careers. Most of them do not get so caught up in their political agendas, but it does happen. I really enjoy the majority of our speakers, even the ones with whom I disagree, because it gives me the opportunity to hear from others with differing opinions. In fact, most of the individuals with whom I disagree have very compelling and/or practical reasons to support their arguments. The site visits really help me think critically about some very serious issues in our country today. Every once in a while, but not often, we are plagued by a speaker who is offensive and problematic.

Shelby P. Smith Midterms were a bit challenging mostly because of the different teaching styles here.  The campus setting and dynamics are much different at American than at Spelman. It is a much bigger campus with more students, so it is more difficult to get to know your peers, professors and other staff here than it is at Spelman.

I am excited to have completed more than half of this experience, but it is definitely bittersweet. I have learned so much in such a short time. I am looking forward to the rest of my semester, which will include a tour of the White House, a visit to the Arlington Jail, and a session with a former death row inmate.


Shelby P. Smith
Shelby P. Smith