Moving to DC posed a bit more culture shock for me than I expected. As a freshman at American University, I understood the East Coast was going to be quite different from my home in the Midwest, but I didn’t understand just how different. I thought driving in South Minneapolis gave me chest pains—I nearly had a heart attack when I hit the traffic in Maryland, much less attempting to navigate DuPont Circle. I had never even seen a traffic circle before. In addition to the driving, the humidity, the population congestion, the availability (and unpredictability) of public transportation, and the general ups and downs of college life, moving to the district has definitely been a bumpy ride.
However, some things aren’t so different. Washington, just like Minneapolis, and the rest of the country, has serious need for drug policy reform. I’ve watched children, teenagers, and young adults, sometimes through their own decisions and sometimes through the decisions of those responsible for them, have their lives ruined by the irresponsible, costly, ineffective and borderline unconstitutional drug policing that goes on in this country. It’s not a regional problem; it’s a national problem and an international problem, which requires us to stand up and fight for something that has thus far eluded our government.
I met Stacia at an Internship Fair, and it occurred to me that Students for Sensible Drug Policy was on a track that I’d been trying to pinpoint for a fair amount of my high school career. Their strategy, mission, hard work and friendly personalities made working here an easy decision for me, and I’m excited and proud to join their mission as an intern this fall.