Written by Pallavi Pal
“Ah, the life!” Unfortunately, the life of a Congressional Intern cannot be described in such rudimentary terms. Found at the bottom of the ladder, the Congressional Intern does not have a life filled with excitement and energy. It is not filled with business meetings and making a difference in the community. It is not filled with esteem and power. What an intern can find, however, is the chance to learn and be taught from those older and much wiser. It is this experience and this knowledge that cause hundreds of interns to flock to DC and perform acts of menial labor.
Menial labor, what exactly do I mean by acts of menial labor? Well, to begin with, the intern will begin their day by sorting the mail, followed by answering phone calls, filing papers, working on excel spreadsheets in order to categorize data and then finally, if lucky, the intern can give Capitol Tours to constituents. The grandiose, more respectable tasks are handled by the Legislative Assistants and Chief of Staffs.
Although we are given rather tedious tasks, what an intern must remember is that we are a given a chance, an opportunity, an advantage among all our peers to get ahead in life and pursue our dreams. A Congressional Intern has the possibility to mix and mingle with the movers and shakers on Capitol Hill. Whether the career path the intern chooses is in a job on the Hill, a job in the government, a career in a non-profit organization, or even none of the above, the Hill provides interns the occasion to field their dreams by interacting and networking with those in these respective careers.
My first week on the job might not have been the most invigorating experience of my life but I have come to realize, out of all my three internship experiences thus far, working on the Hill has bestowed upon me the opportunity to meet those who have already fulfilled the dream that I have only encountered in my fantasies. Meeting such successful people, working both on and off the Hill, has transformed my visions and illusions into tangible goals. It has shown me that although I have made it this far, there is far more out there in store for me. I cannot wait to not only see my dreams but now to live and experience them.