The Internship -- My Favorite Part of the D.C. Experience

The Internship -- My Favorite Part of the D.C. Experience

The best part of my experience in D.C. has easily been my job. I work at a government relations and consulting firm. There are two partners, two principals, my supervisor, and an intern or two. The firm has diverse interests and is full of passionate people doing what they enjoy. My admiration for the firm stems from two areas -- the work we do and the lives my co-workers live. My job has allowed me to get to know clients, government officials, and my co-workers themselves. I can confidently say I have enjoyed every aspect of it. I look at this experience and I look to my future, and it all seems so meaningful and hopeful.

For my internship, I basically do whatever they asked me to do. My time includes: research, preparing for client fly-ins, arranging schedules, making meeting requests, writing updates to clients about our progress, going to hearings, summarizing current events, and basically keeping track of many spinning plates all at once. There are pressing questions, but there are also projects that are slower moving. The information the firm requests is always important. It is my job to prioritize and execute.

 

At a transportation committee hearing listening to

Rick Larsen (D-WA, 2nd) ask questions to the FAA.

 

This is also filtered through my supervisor. If I am spinning ten things at once, she is easily doing ten times more. My main job is to make hers a little easier. She fields all questions and hands what she can off to me. As I have proven myself, she has give me more responsibility and trust on projects. She really encourages me to take initiative, but to always ask questions if I need help. This is the exact type of environment I thrive in. I have had the opportunity to really get involved with our clients and participate in meetings; for that, I am very thankful to her.

 

My normal day starts with going through my email inbox from the night before. There are always late night lingering questions that need to be answered or new development on legislation to catch up on. After that’s finished, I start on my ongoing projects. This may be tracking lobbyists in certain categories or reading and summarizing Politico’s morning traffic report. I usually get my marching orders sometime during this catch-up period. My supervisor tells me what the priorities of the day are. That project may take up the rest of my day or be a touch-and-go sort of thing. The partners are in and out of meetings all day. The atmosphere is great and everyone is very friendly.

 

The amazing part of this experience starts with what we are actually doing in the office. Lobbyists of every type play a key role in government. There are so many issues and minute details involved in law making. Lobbyists take part of that task on by being informed on issues and providing that knowledge to the government. Many people have a negative view of lobbyists, but it is usually because they are uninformed about them, similar to how Congress is uninformed on many of the issues we consider key in our lives. Lobbyists provide a line of knowledge.

 

Within the firm, I was able to see all this happen. It has been amazing how important knowledge on issues really was. It changed wording in bills, created jobs, altered opinions, and affected the lives of many. All this was in the details of information. All the sit down meetings and telephone conference calls have proven to me that real change and voice is possible.

 

Beyond the work the firm itself does, it was amazing to see the work my co-workers are doing and have done. They are all really fantastic people with so much knowledge and ability. They have worked hard to be where they are at, and they are quite good at it. They all know so many people within politics and D.C... I was a little star struck at first. Even now that most of that has worn off, I am still can’t help but feel great admiration for all of them.

 

The lives they all lead are the kind most college graduates dream of. They are doing well, have good jobs, with great family and friends. I saw what they had and it all felt so real. The political science nerd in me wants to tell everyone in my major what a greatness we can strive for. These people are exactly who I want to be years from now.

 

My supervisor and I at the office.

 

As weird as it sounds to say that my co-workers in the firm are living out my future dream, it is very true. I have been interested in lobbying for three years, law for five, and government for eight. I have always known my place is involved in government somehow. The formation of my interests in lobbying came from a political summer camp experience when I met a lobbyist. Her speech and our conversation afterwards convinced me that it was an area of serious interest for me. As college has marched on, that dream has started to feel different. Who am I to want something that I know so little about? This experience has shown me that the dream can become a reality, and not in the "wildest dreams" sort of way. My goal and future look so much more attainable and realistic now. This is truly something I want and something I will make happen.

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

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