Monday, November 13, 2006

Cat Fish: DC Internship Update

Cat Fish '08 has taken the semester off to intern in DC at Adam Smith's office in Congress. I asked her to send us an update on how it's been going. Here is her response, and if you want to know more you can ask her in person when she gets back on campus next semester.

Last night I had trouble sleeping. It was because that butterflies-in-the-stomach eagerness comparable to the feeling you get as a kid on Christmas Eve or the first day of school. From what I know, this specific reaction to the approaching midterm elections is not common. But let’s face it, I’m not normal. I’m a politics nerd. This is why I decided to spend the semester in D.C.

While most of my buddies at UPS were choosing where in Europe they would spend the fall semester partying, I was itching to do something (or at least partying somewhere) a little different. I found an internship in the office of Representative Adam Smith from Washington’s ninth Congressional district. I organized housing with the Washington Student Intern Housing program, through which I was assigned a place in a townhouse with eight other interns, just two blocks from the Capitol building. I moved out east in late August.

I work as Representative Smith’s only fulltime D.C. intern. My duties include legislative research, writing memos, responding to constituent mail and calls, attending briefings and giving Capitol tours. I have developed close relationships with Smith’s legislative staff as well as the Congressman himself, all individuals who are exceptionally accessible unbelievable committed to the citizens of Washington State. Some of the perks of the job include the day-to-day contact with policy-makers, access to Congressional resources, the social functions and the up-close observation of the midterm elections. While the internship has been exhausting and daunting at times, it has also proven to be thoroughly educational and ridiculously fun.

Interning in Congress has transformed and clarified my initial ideas about what I do, and do not want to do with my future. It has provided me with a unique perspective of the American political system, and unquestionably benefited my education as a whole. This experience has reinforced my love for politics and given me the opportunity to meet remarkable people. Best of all, I have learned America’s Capitol is an entire city of politics nerds, just like me.