This is week marked a pretty big turning point for action on the hill: the summer interns have arrived. Because of the typical inconvenience of taking time off school to do an internship, many students decide to come out in the summer instead. While this is great in ensuring that there are extra hands on deck for the summer rush of tours and projects, it unfortunately is a pretty slow time for Congress. Especially during a campaign year, members spend most of July and August back in their home district. Nevertheless, the influx of fresh faces has put my own experience in perspective as I finish up my internship next week.
For all of you new hill interns, or those still thinking about whether or not to apply, here is a list of things I wish I would have known at the start of my internship.
- Getting lost and asking for directions is not bad! The Capitol is huge and only now do I feel like I know my way around the House side. Capitol Police and others are always happy to point you the right way!
- Mistakes will be made. Working in a high-level office demands a high level of precision and sometimes you’ve just got to learn by trial and error.
- Connect with everyone! You never know when someone might pop back into your life so take advantage of interns and staffers from an assortment of backgrounds.
- Go to everything. There is so much opportunity at the Capitol, so take advantage. I have been able to meet movie stars, activists, politicians and all sorts of movers and shakers at briefings and hearings.
- Do what you enjoy and don’t get bored. Even when doing daily office tasks there is so much to absorb about policy, professionalism and U.S. politics. Never accept a dull moment!
Only one more week of work (and a short one because of the holiday) and I’m done! I can hardly believe it!