The Truth About Working on Capitol Hill (Summer Intern Edition)

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When you think about the government and the people that work for it I am sure that many different people can give you many different opinions. But I am here to tell you that if those people have not lived a day working for the government especially on the hill, they are wrong. All of those opinions are all wrong; the negative ones, the positive ones, and especially the ones that say that they have it easy. It is a common opinion to think that everyone who works for the government has an extremely selfish motive and they are only working for themselves, but in truth they are working everyday to keep their jobs. Senators and Representatives are not the only ones who have to worry about losing their jobs after a certain amount of time; all of their staff do as well. Think about it, these are people are are voluntarily working and slaving 25 hours a day that don’t exist to better  almost a fourth of the population, most of them they don’t even know. All while just trying to maintain their sanity and keep their jobs. But of course, I digress.

The intern life is by no means even a fraction of what some of these people who work on the hill experience, but at times you can feel the high pressure and stress right along with them; it is certainly no cake walk. I know what you may be thinking, you are interning in DC and asked to write a blog and you make the whole thing negative?! No, I am simply reflecting on my experience. At the point in time when I am writing this I am at the halfway point of my internship and I have experienced it all. Great humbleness that I am able to work for the country I love, extreme stress to the point I feel like i might start crying at my desk, and intense joy to have some great co workers and working for such an amazing boss. Sometimes, the stress takes over the whole office, but that is just how it has to be; but that makes you realize how important and impactful what you are doing really is. If you can get so stressed over your job, and still spend multiple hours after your 9-6 work day working on it; you know that what you are doing will make some kind of difference to someone.

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When you work on Capitol Hill around all these people that some only see on the news, you realize how much media skews how DC residents live their lives. I can’t and won’t divulge so much in this blog because I think that all the tiny secrets and unravelings that you find out when working on the hill is what makes it so incredible. Plus, most people won’t believe me if I tell them anyway, it’s just kind of how it works out.

So no, I am not saying that I am not happy with my internship; quite the contrary. I am not one for politics actually but I have never learned so much about life, government, and politics in any other opportunity that I have been in. Regardless if this is what I would do my whole life, I have learned so much about how to just live my own life, and how to approach my work and career later in life. I cannot thank my staff and my boss enough for how much they have helped me learn and I am not sure if I would come back to the hill, but I am sure I will find myself interacting with my colleagues again in the future; on the hill or not. I work with a lot of Illini alumni and they have helped me with so much, even for outside of work, and it reminds me how much I love my Illini family. Plus, being staff gets you into some cool places!!

I think that it is funny how people complain that our system is so crooked and messed up, but they do not stop to think about how much people are actually trying to fix things. DC is a network that relies on everyone within it. For support, for guidance, and no one is better than anyone. Everyone asks for help, no one is special, because at the end of the day, everyone has one end goal. And that, is US.

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