What You’ll Actually be Doing in Your First Month at the Capitol

Posted on Monday, Feb 13, 2017

Congratulations!  So you’ve just received an email from PPIP informing you of your admittance into the internship program.  You may already know whose office has chosen you - maybe you’ve even contacted your supervisor.  However, if you’re anything like I was, the question still remains…  What will I actually be doing?
 
Disclaimer: every intern’s office is different; my experience is not necessarily going to be identical to yours.  Nevertheless, my musings will provide you with some valuable insight into what to expect from you first month on the job.
 
The first thing to understand about my office is that Senator Buckingham is currently serving her first term in the Senate, which, for the sake of this blog post, means that initially we we spent a lot of time on preparatory tasks such as moving furniture, preparing the office layout, and establishing our specific roles.  On the other hand, working for a freshmen senator almost certainly implies that the inauguration day celebration will be spectacular.  You will meet countless people who worked on the campaign, as well as constituents who were heavily involved in it.  Your first few weeks will serve as a fun introduction to Capitol life.
           
It won’t be long, however, until you find yourself with plenty of work to keep you busy.  You will be inputting business cards and constituent mail into the records system, researching and analyzing bills, and taking increasingly frequent meetings with any and every advocacy group you can imagine.  Personally, I find the meetings fascinating as they present an opportunity to learn about something completely new every fifteen minutes.
           
Lastly, I feel it is important to stress the fact that you will have plenty of time at the beginning of session to learn the ropes - so don’t freak out!  Everyone I’ve encountered has been incredibly willing to share what they know to help me improve.  After all, the better they prepare you, the better you can serve your office as time progresses.
 
Is there anything else you’d like to know about what to expect before you depart for Austin? Please feel free to get in touch with me at any time.
 
Best of luck!

Chris Johnson
Office of State Senator Dawn Buckingham
Austin, Texas