One of the most intimidating buildings is the Harry S. Truman State Department building. Every time I have to go there by myself, I’m afraid that I’ll get lost and never be able to find my way out again. I discussed this a little bit earlier in the semester, because my third day on the job I had to navigate the bowels of this building all by myself; luckily for me a new urban legend about the lost intern who haunts the basement wasn’t born. Those initial fears and apprehensions about the building come with me every time I visit, so it was not good for me that I had to visit the building multiple times this past week.
The first time I had to visit was because my badge broke, leading me to once again have flashbacks to my first week as an intern, and all the unfortunate walking and confusion that came with the job title. Normally I go in one of the side gates instead of the Visitor’s Center because it’s closer to my office. To get into the complex you have to stick your badge in the slot then when the light comes on you type in a code. Well the light never came on for me, so I had to make the long hike around the outside of the complex to the Visitor’s Center. After talking with General Services, I found out I needed to make the trek to Main State to get a new badge. As I got on the shuttle to go to Main State, fear was slowly building; I just knew I was going to get lost again, and since it was a Friday my office wouldn’t know I was missing until Monday morning. Luckily for me, the badging office was in a different spot than it was last time, right inside the entrance! I got my badge without any problems, and was able to grab a quick lunch before having to come back to Main State for meetings that afternoon for my Public Policy paper.
Coming back that afternoon showed me a new side of this building: the upstairs. I had only been above the first floor once, again during my first week. I had two interviews on the fourth floor, and you would think that navigating a building would be pretty easy, but the corridors are all funky on the inside. Corridor 7 meets up with Corridor 4 and corridor 6 is on the other side of a wall with a locked door. It felt like I was trying to navigate Hogwarts, with its vanishing hallways and shifting stairs, otherworldly noises echoing from around the corner. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but needless to say I left plenty of time to find the offices that my meetings were in, and I probably looked like a scared deer walking down the hallway. In between my meetings I managed to find the library on my own, something that I was told was very difficult to do unless you knew where you were going.
The time I spent trying to navigate those corridors paid off in the end; since then I have had to go back to Main State a couple of times, and I feel more confident in my ability to navigate the hallways. I was there the other day with the Orientation class, and was able to successfully give directions to one of the students as to where the library was, and how to get to the C Street lobby. Looks like some other intern will have to haunt the building.