What it Really Means to be an Intern

Posted on Friday, Feb 17, 2017

If you ask me what an average day in my 20-year-old life looks like, you would probably not find it extremely common. I attempt to wake up at 6 am. There is an emphasis on “attempt” because I am far from a morning person and have always refused to take 8 am classes. Yet when you are an adult you don’t decide the time you go into work.
I shower then put on my suit and heels. I definitely can’t wear leggings, baggy shirts, and chacos around the capitol. I grab a quick breakfast with two cups of coffee, then head to my car. Through the next 45 minutes of my morning I listen to an encouraging podcast or jam to some TSwifty (depends on the type of mood I find myself in),  brush my hair, do my makeup, put on my badge and fix my jewelry all while sitting in the beauty of I-35 traffic. As soon as I walk into the building there are filed bills to be scanned, emails needing responses, news to read, committee meetings to listen to, and packages to be hand delivered.
By lunch time, things have slowed down a bit and I eat a quick lunch with my best friend at the moment who happens to be the only person my age in the entire office: the other intern. I read for my online English lit class or a self-motivating book (I have a thing for inspirational pep talks). However, as an intern you can’t be gone from the office too long because you never really know when a phone call will completely alter the rest of the day’s work load. When the afternoon rolls around, I listen to senate adjournments, write down announcements, and update the comptroller's calendar.
I realize the majority of these things aren’t glamorous or fancy, but they all add up to the incredible process of legislation that forms everyday life in the state of Texas. It all comes down to those moments you realize why you do it. It is because there are other parts to the job that make it completely worth it.
Despite everything I mentioned, being an intern in a legislative session is such an unexplainable experience. I have gotten to experience moments that very few people my age probably have and maybe never will: the rush and excitement of opening day of legislative session, the crowds and cheers, the anticipation while members take the oath for office, and when the Speaker of the House is elected (this time with unanimous consent). There are shouts and chants of protestors right outside the capitol as people practice the rights granted by the first amendment. There were standing ovations for the governor during his State of the State Address, clearly demonstrating a hunger for change. There was an elegant reception with oysters in the lieutenant governor’s reception room. There are tough conversations that are ought to happen in the finance committee with a tight budget for the biennial, forcing to cut millions of dollars from general spending.
I can close my eyes and remember the emotions that have been brought by every single one of these situations. It is safe to say I would redo all the hours of traffic, money spent on dry cleaning and miles walked through the capitol in heels to have this adventure all over again.

Valentina Tovar
Office of Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar
Austin, Texas