This past summer, I had the most incredible opportunity to intern at the United States Senate.
I’m still mad at myself for not writing while I was there, as I did SO MANY cool things, but I’m making up for that now.
First things first, D.C. really is a messed up city. In many good, bad, and beautiful ways. The hustle and bustle of business men and women in suits walking towards the capitol doing big, important things; mixed together with the onslaught of unbelievably slow-paced, wide-eyed tourists, and then top it off with the high numbers of homeless people . . . D.C. is a conglomeration of a little bit of everything. It can be said that D.C. has something fun to do every. single. day. I loved it – and would absolutely move back in a heart beat (if I have the money).
I could go
running struggling, from my Airbnb down by Potomac Metro and within a couple miles make it to the WWII Memorial and Washington Monument. (Airbnb was my way of saving money and avoiding the $2,000 a month rent for intern housing in Foggy Bottom).
Really though, money is the key part in all of this unfortunately. I’ve had a couple job offers in D.C. available to me after graduating, but I know that I simply can’t afford to live there.
Especially considering that D.C. is the type of place where connections are everything, there wasn’t a week that went by that I wasn’t meeting someone for drinks or dinner to discuss future career options. The expenses rack up quickly.
I’m also not ignorant to the fact that I am extremely blessed to have afforded this internship at the hands of my parents. Without their monetary support, an experience like this would have been completely out of the question. I will continuously critique the Washington elite and Congressional internships in the sense that I believe making internships unpaid (in the most expensive city in the U.S.), it automatically keeps rich families ahead of the curve and within the elitist circle. There is absolutely no way that poor families could manage to send their children to an unpaid internship in this city, giving them a chance to break the cycle – and for that, I will always question the process.
Aside from this, working in the Senate was one of the most rewarding and eye-opening experiences of my entire life. I interned with Arkansas Senator Boozman, and although I am an avid Democrat and he is Republican, Senator John Boozman is one of the most genuine and hard working senators I had the pleasure of meeting.
One day, hopefully, I’ll be living in D.C. – but until then, I’ll be gallivanting the world!