Honors Course Reflections

Maggie Cook-Allen: Blog 2

Today is our last day in DC, and there have been so many fun things that have happened.  As I spent my last few hours in the Library of Congress, I enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on some of my favorite moments of the week.

Earlier in the week, we got the opportunity to tour the Capitol Building. Though I had seen it before, this visit was much for enriching. It was especially interesting because, in addition to the normal tour, we got to see where the Court met before it moved into the marble building it is in now. In the Old Supreme Court Chamber, the Court heard many landmark cases, such as McCulloch v. Maryland, that would set major precedents that would determine how the government would operate for centuries to come. They were also the basis of the legal doctrine we came to DC to study.

It was really cool to see the current Supreme Court building after that. During our tour of the building, we got to sit in the room where oral arguments are held. We got to sit where the members of the Supreme Court Bar sit while our tour guide explained everything about the room. He pointed out where everyone is supposed to sit in the room, and what the roles of the key players are. I also found it really interesting that the room dedicates a portion of seats for guests of the justices. Each justice has one reserved seat for a guest to watch oral arguments.

Today we got a surprise from the Library of Congress’ staff. They gave us the opportunity to look at all the boxes housed in this portion of the Library of Congress. It was really cool to get to see the stacks and see where the papers we were looking at were housed. It seemed like there were endless shelves of boxes. We got to look at the papers of George Washington, including a recipe for beaver tail that he kept. We also got to see where they store the papers of other past presidents, civil rights leaders, and important figures in American history…and Sigmund Freud for some reason. The librarian walking us around did not know why he was there either.

At the end of each day, it was always nice to sit down with our group for dinner to unwind. We’ve gone to fun places like We the Pizza, where we would sit around the table and tell funny stories about the things we’ve found that day. It was a great way to bond with each other. We have become closer as a group over the past week, and it now feels like we are a team doing this research together.

This trip has been an incredible blessing, and I am very thankful for having the opportunity to come. I am thankful for everyone that made this trip possible and for those I got to share this experience with. I’ve enjoyed this week with you, and I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the semester with you.

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