Week 10: Til Next Time

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Sunday, August 7, 2022


Benjamin Johnson

This week, my work at Potomac Research was mostly completed, so I focused more on finalizing my presentation.  I practiced presenting a few times for my mentors, and once they gave me the green light, I was ready to go for Friday.  They took me out to lunch at a German restaurant in Alexandria on Wednesday, and after that I thanked them for everything and said farewell for the last time. 

Outside of work, the last week of the internship was bittersweet.  I’m very grateful for the friends and experiences I found in DC this summer, and I’m excited to see my crew back at school, but it’s difficult to reflect on the past few months without the sting of melancholy, knowing that I’ll hardly see the other interns again. 

Our last Saturday we spent exploring Georgetown, and I finally got to see the stairs from The Exorcist.  Although I had intended to check them out all summer, ironically, I only passed them by happenstance. 

On Sunday, we journeyed to the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art and got to see lots of interesting exhibits.  Unfortunately, we managed to miss Van Gogh and Monet, but I suppose there’s always next time.  The museum is extensive, and I could spend days there, so it’s no surprise we didn’t cover everything in a few hours.  That night, we gathered for a final potluck (partially to hang out, and partially to use up all the food we had left).

On Monday, we played a final round of D&D.  Taylor did a great job DMing and left us on a cliffhanger, so maybe we’ll play more online when we get a chance.  We went to the Lincoln Memorial and camped out on the grass behind it to watch the sunset over the Potomac, so it was a rather picturesque setting for the game (I lost the game ;).

On Wednesday, some of the interns gathered for crepes.  I only had weird food left, so I may or may not have made some strange crepe concoctions, but I have no regrets. 

On Thursday, we went to ACP for our practice presentations to prepare for Friday.  Everyone killed it, so I was certain Friday would be a success.  After we returned to the dorms, we shared some food again to try to use it up and began packing like crazy. 

On Friday, we all returned to ACP for the final symposium.  It was thrilling to hear about the work my fellow interns completed this summer, and I’m proud of them all (although I admit some of the more technical presentations flew straight over my head).  Great job, everyone!  Afterwards, we went to Quigley’s for one more Friday happy hour before we had to pack everything up for good.  Brad joined us to say goodbye, and we had a blast.  Returning from Quigley’s, I finished packing, loaded my car, and drove back home to Virginia Beach.  I didn’t get there until after 1 am, and my mom wanted us to leave for Maine at 4 am, so needless to say I didn’t get much (or any) sleep.

I’m currently typing this from my aunt’s house in Portland, Maine, and relishing in the sub-90-degree weather.  Not looking forward to returning to Charlottesville in a week to begin classes in the sweltering Virginia sun, but at least I’ll get to see my friends (and the apartment complex next door has a pool I can sneak into). 

Well, this is it, so to my mentors at Potomac Research and the SPS staff: thank you so much for your support and guidance this summer!  I had a phenomenal time at this internship, and I hope future interns enjoy it as much as I did.  To my fellow interns: so long friends!  Thank you for spending your valuable time with me these past few months; it meant the world to me.  It’s agonizingly strange to transition instantaneously from seeing you every day to virtually never, but I’ll cherish the memories we formed together for the rest of my life.  Although vast distances may stand between us, I’ll always hold you close in my heart.  Please reach out if you ever want to catch up or if you’re passing through Virginia.  See you all at PhysCon!

Til next time . . .

Benjamin Johnson