Week 7: Friends, Alarms, and Avoiding Cliches

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Tuesday, July 18, 2023


Jaden Sicotte

If you ever go to set an alarm, triple check that you set the AM or PM correctly. I have learned this painfully obvious lesson in a painfully embarrassing way, but we’ll get to that shortly.

The week began slow this past Monday with a few meetings. One of which was a networking call with the APS News team, which was incredibly helpful and relieving. Devin, Jenna, and I signed off at the end with tons of new advice and offers to help network and check our resumes. Turns out, discussing our futures, financial stability, job outlooks, and future levels of success CAN be cathartic.

Tuesday meant another APS intern check in with Devin, Jenna, and I, as well as all of our mentors. We talked game plan for our symposium talks and recapped the work we’ve all been doing. I then met with my research advisor from school to brainstorm research ideas for next year. Post meeting, I decided I was done being productive and I hungout at the pool with Brynn and Janessa. 

Wednesday was another great networking meeting with the APS Careers team, which I work very closely with (shoutout to Midhat Farooq for yet more good advice). I then journeyed into Virginia, in search of an actually affordable DMV thrift store. I was able to get a desk chair for $5 (always thrift, the chairs on Amazon are like $100). I then rode back to my apartment with the spoils of war, driven by an Uber driver who fancied himself a wise sherpa of young adults. His advice included, “you shouldn’t have done this internship, you should’ve worked construction, learned some actually useful skills”, “always be the friend with a truck, they can never cut you out”, and “never stay at a job longer than 6 months, the shortest job I had was 49 days”. (Deadpan) pearls of wisdom that I totally intend to internalize and live my life by. 

Thursday after work I met up with a friend from home who was in town visiting friends at Howard. I haven’t seen him in a bit and it was nice catching up. I quickly had to mobilize though for the intern potluck. You may remember my Icarus-level failure with the gnocchi a few weeks back, and this week’s attempt at empanadas thankfully wasn’t nearly as awful. And yet... that’s about the only level of positivity I can say for my performance. I accidentally bought baked pie crust instead of dough, and as a result, my empanada shells kept cracking and crumbling. This forced me to pivot and instead make a casserole style dish with the empanada innards and instead make small little biscuit thingys out of the pie crust. The biscuits were dry, bland, and wholly unimpressive, and my “casserole” was underwhelming but edible. Success! At least in relative terms to my previous potluck. 

Friday began early, waaayy too early. I had 5 friends from home who were driving down to visit me for the weekend (all the way from Massachusetts), and they only started driving when the last one of them got off work at 7:30pm. Factoring in traffic and the 8-9 hr drive, they ended up getting in at 4am. Which is something the GPS told them would happen, which they relayed to me around 2am. I decided to take a quick nap, falling asleep at around 2:30am and planning to wake around 3:45am to let them into my building's parking garage and get them all set up in air mattresses in my room. Notice how all of the above times have pm or am? This was not the level of attention to detail I exhibited when I went to take my nap. I set all the alarms for pm rather than am, and finally awoke at 7am. My exhausted friends had been forced to park the car and scooter around the monuments for hours while leaving me exactly 50 missed calls, 31 missed texts, 23 snapchats, and 15 voicemails. 

Thankfully they were good natured about it all though and after they napped all morning while I worked, we enjoyed the apartment building pool, grabbed dinner, and met up with some of my school friends for a fun night out. 

Saturday was another early morning with the 6 of us going to brunch at Rakuya, a Japanese style breakfast place. While they may taste similar to your average waffle with your eyes closed, something about Japanese bubble waffles elevates the simple breakfast item into a top tier delicacy. Post waffle we ventured to Navy Yard and enjoyed some German pretzels among other items at Dacha. We rounded off the night with a Barbenheimer-themed (Barbie x Oppenheimer, to celebrate the release of both movies this upcoming weekend) event with the other interns and another fun night out. 

Sunday meant breakfast at Call Your Mother (staggeringly, my friends, all from Massachusetts, said it was better than Dunks) and saying farewell to my friends. I then had dinner with a friend and ended up seeing some spontaneous (and almost assuredly illegal) fireworks and a wonderful sunset down by the reflecting pool. 

I won't wax poetic about how "it's hard to believe the summer is almost coming to an end" or that "time really flies and it feels like I just started yesterday". Both are true, but they're corny and I'm boycotting those cliches (as should we all). Rather, the internship feels like it's ripening. We've all settled into new friends, positions, experiences, and memories. For now, it's summer in DC, and we've all grown comfortable in our new roles and the vibrancy of the city. Soon though we'll all return to the familiar routine of our respective school years, but that's fine. Cause this summer has been super cool so far (thanks SPS and APS), and I'm simply grateful for the experience, understanding that this time will eventually fully ripen, fall off the vine, and become something else (though hopefully nothing rotten!). 

Jaden Sicotte