Advice to D.C. Interns

Advice to D.C. Interns

As I approach the halfway point in my TWC semester, it’s easy to get caught up in my hectic schedule: trying to do all the work expected in my internship, make a good impression, do homework for classes, all while managing a work/life balance, that as we are told, us millennials love to have! However, I have to remind myself to take a step back, just take ten minutes out of one day this week, and reflect.


As a Washington Center intern, you are an exception to your peers. I am not just saying this to “beef-up” The Washington Center, or because I am a TWC intern myself, but rather to encourage students to realize the opportunities afforded by this program to go beyond what you would normally do during a semester on campus. Sure, you'd probably be excelling in your classes, but it’s mostly theoretical, whereas an internship is the chance to gain real-world experience and make a difference.


I had the incredible opportunity to interview a professional runner for an assignment through The Washington Center. I assumed I would hear about his record times and athletic accomplishments, which I did, but he also gave me some of the best career and life advice that, arguably, one could give a 22-year-old. One of the main things he said was, “We listen to respond, not to think." You may have heard this before, but as I reflect on my time as an intern thus far, I've realized this advice is about pushing myself to think about my experiences in the workplace and take note of what I like and dislike doing, even if it’s a small task. The biggest complaint I hear from people in their late twenties is that they rushed into a career or graduate school, because they felt that they needed to have everything figured out once they left their undergraduate lives.


Second, my professional runner friend told me, “the best thing you can do in life is get to know yourself. When you know yourself, you can achieve anything." This might sound silly, but everyone should take a few minutes each day to think about themselves. I've learned as a TWC intern that one of the stereotypes for millennials is that we want to help people. I love this stereotype of my generation; I hope that it holds true, but you cannot help others until you have helped yourself. Again, just take time to think about the work you have done, and if it holds true to your values and lifestyle.


The best part of having an internship is that it is short lived. I don’t want that to come off as being cynical, but here you have this incredibly unique opportunity to work in the government, a non-profit, a large corporation, etc. with absolutely no strings attached. I hope you take my advice to take some time out of your busy week to reflect on who you are, what your passions are and what you want to do with your life.


All the best,


Read Hannah's previous blog posts

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