Thursday started out a little differently than our previous mornings. Rather than everyone shuffling downstairs at 8am together, we each left the hotel to different places all over Washington; different agencies, think tanks, office buildings, and homes. Our group had launched into the “shadow day,” a day in which we are individually matched up with Wellesley alums from a variety of graduating years to better understand their work experience. This part of the program is a great glimpse into the working lives of those working in D.C. This day was really a tribute to the far-reaches of the Wellesley network (as well as a great deal of hard work by Aprill Springfield and especially Charlotte Hayes). We were matched very well, especially considering the assortment of interests in our Wintersession group.
I was matched, along with fellow student Sara S., with a wonderful alum, Sara Mabry, who works as a legislative aide in Senator Casey’s office. We walked over in the lovely weather to the Russell Senate Office, admiring the architecture of the city. She welcomed us as Wellesley sisters, and explained the realities of speaking to constituents, the passing of the health care bill into law, and D.C. dress code. She told us about her path to her current position, and gave us insight into post-Wellesley life. I felt so privileged to learn from Sara in this way. Even though the Senate isn’t in session at the moment, the building was still bustling, and she kindly gave so much of her time that day to help us understand Washington from her perspective. It was a wonderful experience to speak with Sara on a more personal level, and wrap our minds around “authentic D.C.”
The Wellesley network really is one of the college’s strengths. Not just in the basic networking sense of the word, but in the way that our graduated Wellesley siblings go above and beyond to truly dedicate their time to helping other Wellesley students. It is not just some abstract idea that the school pretends to endorse; these are solid friendships and professional relationships forged by our shared experiences of Wellesley, even if they are years apart or in different areas of study. There is a network of advice and kindness to catch you if you move to a new city, or need help understanding your career path, or even just to feel camaraderie. We are “Women Who Will,” in thousands of different capacities, and we help each other reach further. Wellesley siblings open their hearts and minds to each other, in a way that makes me a very proud Wellesley woman.