Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The 25-Year-Old Intern

Let me tell you some stuff about being a Congressional intern:

So I actually really like giving tours of the Capitol. I like seeing people’s enthusiasm about being here. I have been in D.C. for so long now, that the novelty has kind of worn off for me. To show people the Capitol, a building that is such a powerful image of America, is really fun, and a reminder that I live in a sweet place. I also like knowing that I’m giving them a way better tour than those ornery red-jacketed tour guides, because I can show them random things and places that the general tours don’t get to see, and give them passes to see the Senate and the House galleries. Also, I’ve always been a trivia nerd and so naturally I love being able to spew off all the facts I can think of about the Capitol and Congress and have it be received so enthusiastically. Want a tour during the month of August? Call me.

I have a love/hate relationship with the telephone. 75% of the time I am speaking with constituents who take an active interest in what is going on in their country. They know what is being voted on that day, and they know the proper way to voice their opinion to their representatives. These people inspire me (whether or not I agree with their opinions). I really am not taking full advantage of being an American citizen. The fact that we can directly call our government and voice our opinion on how they should be voting is a wonderful thing. We should all be more diligent in knowing what issues are being discussed and voted on: not just the ones you see on tv. There is a lot more going on in our government that should interest us besides healthcare.

But the other 25% of the time, I am speaking with riduclousness. This could be people who are so angry about something and yell at me about it, and then hang up. Did that really make you feel better? You didn’t even ask me to pass on your comments to your representative. Nothing is going to change, and you’re still going to be mad. Ridiculous. This could also be people who demand answers or demand things that shouldn’t even be handled by their congressman and then get angry when there’s not much I can do for them. Seriously, know the proper chain of authority before you be calling D.C. OR, it could be the real crazies. People who may not even be from the district I work for who call to say that Obama is a psychotic druggie, or that conservatives are from another planet who need to return home, blah blah blah. You get the idea. Sometimes these calls are amusing though, (like the conspiracy theorists), unless they’re mad at me; because obviously it must be my fault that Obama is a psychotic druggie--my bad. Ridiculous.

In the first two weeks of my internship, I was able to attend many lectures given in a Congressional Intern Lecture Series. Those were for the most part really interesting and I have been able to listen to some really interesting speakers: from the Secretary of the Smithsonian, the Attorney General during the Reagan Administration, a former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, to the Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News. But I’ve realized when I attend the lectures that I am an OLD intern. Most of the people surrounding me were born in the 90s---I am not just guessing: when NBC news guy was talking he asked who doesn't remember the election of 1996. The majority of the room raised their hands. I actually do remember it. Maybe I’m being dramatic, but it still is SO weird to me that children of the 90s are now almost done with college. It makes me feel old.

Back to the “novelty” of working here: while there are parts of the Capitol that I had been to many times before as a tourist, it is pretty cool to be able to explore parts I had never seen before, and where tourists aren’t generally allowed. I get to walk around the building when there are no crowds of tourists in sight, and it’s pretty sweet. That building really is an incredible structure, and I love it. I love what it represents, and even though it’s filled with imperfect stubborn people who sometimes act like children and don’t agree, they are still fighting for the same cause: for the people of the country.
 And just as a couple of side notes, I now more fully understand why people become addicts of Diet Coke or other caffeinated deliciousness (my preference: Dr. Pepper): because the 3 o’clock hour is brutal sometimes, and naptime never sounded so good. And also, my commute may be longer than others who live closer, but I’m sure it is not nearly as pretty. I take the train, btw, and I have always loved train rides for whatever reason, and the fact that I am not sitting in my car stuck in the hell that is also known as the I-95 makes the extra time and cost worth it.


  1. Yes, Dr. Pepper would be my preference too, but 3am would not! I like sleeping until 7 (or double digits on the weekends.) You may be a 25 year-old intern, but on the bright side, a lot of people your age aren't graduated yet and you are. :)

  2. ha ha, kels, maybe i should have specified that i meant three in the afternoon!

  3. I had to check on your 3 comment. Haha. You maybe older than the rest, but it's still a super cool job. Love your pictures. Keep sharing your awesome trivia facts.

  4. Have you read the Lost Symbol by Dan Brown? I totally thought about you yesterday because at least the part I'm reading right now is all about the U.S. Capitol... you should read it if you haven't.