Politics has always been very important to me. In many ways, it has defined my life as I’ve dedicated my studies, my extracurricular time, and my career to politics. Before coming to DC, I’ve been in very polarized areas. I’m from an extremely conservative area and go to a relatively liberal school. Washington DC is unique because almost everyone here is very involved in politics and extremely passionate. Unlike my hometown and my college town, the city is split between those working for Democrats and those working for Republicans. However, for the most part I haven’t really noticed a shift in my identity. I’m not regularly surrounded by those across the aisle, I mostly interact with people I work with or friends in other Democratic offices. I honestly haven’t felt like my political identity has changed much since starting this internship because I have always been very committed to my beliefs and I’m now working for a Senator that I respect and who champions those beliefs.
Interestingly, I would say that the biggest identity I’ve noticed since coming to DC isn’t my political identity, it’s actually my geographic identity. Almost everyone who interns and works in my office is from the state of Washington. I have no ties to the state and have only been there once. I’ve had to research Washington issues and counties to try and familiarize myself with the state. I don’t feel excluded for not being from Washington or for not getting the Washington references, I’ve just reflected more on where I’m from and have been open to learning more about another region in the country. I’ve never really considered being from Michigan as being core to my identity, but I’ve found myself talking about it more than I’m accustomed to and comparing it with Washington. I am able to learn about the state that the Senator I’m working for represents while still maintaining my identity and being able to recognize that it has played a role in shaping who I am.