Living in a cut-throat city

One of the most memorable aspects of my internship this summer was the connections I made with other interns. I had a large office (by State Department standards) of 25 civil service officers and foreign affairs officers, so my office had five interns. We sat together in the office, so we quickly became close.

At the beginning of the summer, I was worried about what the other interns would be like. I know friends who have felt like they had to compete with other interns in their office for work, and people who have dealt with the dreaded “kiss-up.” There are plenty of stories of cut-throat interns trying to steal the spotlight. Especially in D.C., where it seems like everyone is vying for a promotion. But although all of us interns were hardworking and trying to make a good impression, we were always willing to help one another succeed.

Mostly, we worked separately. In my office, there are a few different teams and only two of the interns worked on overlapping teams. I was on two teams: multilateral and visas, and the latter was what I worked on most. During the last few weeks of our internship, the visas team started a project that included all of the interns and I had the responsibility of training them, because I was the one who knew what to do. It was a great experience to be able to train them and lead our team for the project. I was even able to report to our office director about the progress we had made.

Although I was suspicious of the alleged competitiveness of D.C. interns, I ended up really bonding with the group in my office. Throughout the summer we were supportive of each other day to day and at the end, we were able to demonstrate to our colleagues that we excelled working as a team.

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