Blog 4: Reflecting On My Time In The Senate

After spending two months in the office of a Senator I’ve learned an incredible amount. I have about a month left in the internship and I’m hoping to be able to really make the most of my time here using what I’ve learned. My goals when I started this internship were fairly straightforward, they were to learn how a legislative office functions and to learn more about the roles of the staffers in the office. I also set out to build my network and meet as many people as I could to discuss what they do on a daily basis and how they got started. I wanted to be able to perform all of my intern duties and still have the opportunity to attend briefings and really experience all that the Hill has to offer. My biggest goal was to try and learn about the different roles of staffers within a legislative office and to decide what I think I might be interested in doing after college.

Me and my fellow interns at the White House

 

Now that I have actually spent time in a legislative office I am comfortable with the goals I set out and am still trying to achieve them. I set realistic goals of what I could do while I was here and those goals will benefit me long term. I’ve met a fair amount of the people working in my office and have been able to speak to several of them about what they do and how they got to where they are. Because of the fast paced and hectic nature of congress, it’s not always that easy to find time to get a staffer to sit down with you or to find ways in which you can be helpful to others beyond your ordinary role. On Friday’s in the Senate we are on recess and I’ve found that if I reach out to a staffer and ask to chat or grab coffee on a recess Friday then they are more likely able to meet rather than if I asked them for some time during the week. I have learned a lot about my office and staffers roles which was really important to me because I want to work on the Hill after college. I am still having trouble deciding specifically what path I want to take. Almost every staffer starts as a staff assistant within a legislative office and then breaks down the path of policy, management, or communications. I’m still not able to say definitively what I want to do and I am learning to be more comfortable with that. I typically don’t like the unknown but legislative offices are hectic and every staffer is incredibly smart and hardworking and I still have a lot of learning to do before creating an exact road map of how I think my life might go. For now, I will continue to meet and talk with staffers and to learn about the roles and the office. I’m enjoying the opportunities that I have working here and am taking advantage of all the interesting hearings and briefings going on.

 

A map of the US I made using the corresponding Senators faces

 

I am really enjoying the internship and think I’m doing well. Day to day tasks include answering calls from constituents, listening to voicemails from constituents, performing administrative tasks, attending briefings, writing letters to constituents, and writing memos. I’m comfortable performing all intern tasks and am willing to do whatever is necessary. I haven’t had any real challenges with my internship thus far. There are days that are more stressful or busy than others but there’s never been a time where I’ve worried about my performance. Some days there isn’t much to do and that is probably more difficult for me than days where I am constantly working. I don’t like not having anything to do but when that happens I’ve tried to create ways to entertain myself. I’ve successfully learned every Senator and am able to see a picture of their face and list their name, party, and the state they are from. I think if there’s anything I could improve on it would be being a better team member and working with my fellow interns more. I have a great group of fellow interns and we try and help each other out from time to time. Sometimes I get too focused on what I am doing when I should be making sure I am also a resource for other interns to use if they need more help. Overall I really enjoy working with my fellow interns and have made great friends throughout the process.

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