NBA, Volunteering, and Chicago

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The beauty of studying at GW is that so much can happen in a short span of time. In the last 5 days, I’ve been to an NBA game for the first time, volunteered at the Washington DC Economic Partnership Annual Meeting, and spent 3 days in Chicago.

As a student, I took advantage of the $15 tickets to the Wizards vs. Knicks game held at the Verizon Centre. Given that I had very limited knowledge about NBA, I naturally went for the Wizards. My friend and I arrived at the stadium and ordered Chick-fil-A to go. It was a nail biting game. At one point the Wizards were up nearly 30 points against the Knicks. Empty seats scattered throughout the stadium. Fans in orange surprisingly outweighed those in red and navy. As the game entered the 4th quarter, my friend and I were on the edge of our seats cheering on the Wizards for a comfortable win.

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The next day I put on my business attire to volunteer at the Convention Centre for the WDCEP Annual Meeting. This opportunity came from the Real Estate department at GW because it was related to development. Given my keen interest in real estate, I decided to check it out. The volunteering part wasn’t difficult but I was surprised that I was the only one from GW that signed up. After a few hours of peeling off name tags and directing exhibitors to the exhibition room, we were given the chance to sit in on the Luncheon in the Ballroom. In the room sat 200 attendees, and was full of lawyers, architects, engineers, developers, government employees that came to network and listen to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of D.C. talk about what they can do to continue the growth of economic development. I got a free 3 course lunch out of it too so it was pretty worth it.

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Saturday I embarked on a solo 3-day journey to Chicago. The plane ride was only 2 hrs, but delayed by an hour at the airport. By the time I arrived at the Airbnb accommodation which was about an hour by metro and bus from O’Hare, it was too late to catch the show I had planned to watch at The Neo-Futurists (Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind). I had my doubts about Chicago’s safety, especially the place I was staying at which was close to the Wilson Red Line – apparently a popular spot for gang hangouts. I had no problems during my stay because I stayed away from catching the metro there and stuck with the bus option.

Since it was my first time in Chicago, I set out to do all the touristy things one might do, such as going to Cloud Gate and taking a picture (or several) with The Bean, getting cultured at the Art Institute of Chicago (with artworks by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Claude Monet), a walk through the Millennium Park, and getting a deep dish pizza (it was an hour wait at Giordano’s but it was worth it), and going up to the Sky deck of Willis Tower. The most memorable, however, was the improv show at the Second City e.t.c. It was 3 hours of non-stop laughter with different sketches, songs, and a lot of improvising. Some alumnus of Second City include: Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and other famous funny people. Even though my time in Chicago was short, I got a lot out of it. Travelling alone was also unexpectedly refreshing.

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