After my overwhelming first week, I was thankful to spend the first few days of my second week working at the office. As mentioned in my previous post, I came in as a governmental affairs intern, so I had expected to primarily be doing research. Instead, I spent those days drafting emails to representatives for a “Dear Colleague” letter, editing media/news posts for the NGO, and even drafting a press release for an event. It wasn’t at all what I had expected of my internship. In fact, when asked to create a press release for an event, I spent half that time Googling what exactly a press release was (I’m still not sure to be honest).
This type of situation – where you enter a job or internship and don’t do what you were expecting to do – is an extremely common experience. Two out of the other three interns were law students with the background and experience that made it seem like they were comfortable in everything thrown at them. This was disheartening, but I know I’m not the first and won’t be the last to feel self-conscious about my qualifications for a position. On Thursday of that week, the third, non-law, intern and I attending a conference on Capitol Hill. As we ate free vegan hot dogs being handed PETA on the steps of the Rayburn House Office building, he told me that he had been there for about a month and still wasn’t exactly sure what his internship label would be classified as because the work thrown at him was completely random. Though, he also noted that even though it was random, it was necessary and beneficial.
I think it is extremely important to note that, while the tasks I was being assigned weren’t necessarily what I had expected, that I should make the most out of them and adapt new skills. Even though we all state we have “proficient Microsoft” skills on our resume, this week I finally learned how to wrap text on Excel. It is the small things in what is unexpected that add up to the types of skills I wanted to learn while interning.