The Shift from Student to Intern

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019

Running between classes, staying up late cramming for an exam, and walking into class wearing the most comfortable outfit you could find. This is definitely not life on the Hill, but we’ve all been in college and know how being a full- time college student works. Being lucky enough to get a full- time internship makes every student very excited yet very anxious. After my first two weeks of interning on the Hill, I have come to realize the differences from life on a college campus to life on Capitol Hill. The shift from college casual to business professional is an obvious and expected one, but here are some changes I was not expecting.  
 
  1. There’s no routine: I had gotten so used to knowing what I was going to do everyday, and knowing that what I did in each of my classes was pretty much the same from week to week. As an intern I was trained in various tasks, but each day I woke up I really had no clue what I would be tasked to do that day or who would walk through the office door. It came to a surprise to me when every single day for the past two weeks has been different. I have met new and different people, I have worked on a new project, and I have visited a new part of town. I have learned to go with the flow and to expect the unexpected. It definitely makes every day much more exciting and has taught me to take everything day by day. This leads me to my next point.   
 
  1. Always be prepared: It’s so easy to just become numb to your surroundings, especially when you go through the same routine everyday, but working on the Hill has very quickly taught me that I need to always stay alert and focused for whatever comes my way. Whether it be a project or an errand I have to run for the office, I can not let myself become stagnant. This is something that I feel many college students do when they are in class. They just sit in a lecture hall and go through the motions mindlessly, but as an intern it is nearly impossible to be stagnant, you must always be actively thinking and/ or working on something. There have been countless times where the day was moving slow, but out of nowhere we get word of breaking news and we’re tasked with new assignments. Always be ready to take on whatever gets thrown your way.  
 
  1. Talk to People: It often seemed like a hassle to make conversation with people while I was on my way to class or sitting next to someone new in class, but during this internship I have learned that even the smallest conversations I have with someone I always come out of it having learned something new. Everybody that I have met is very unique with different perspectives and knowledge on issues. It became very apparent to me that taking the time to get to know the person sitting next to me is an invaluable experience, and I will never regret saying hi to someone.
 
These are some lessons that I have learned in my short time interning so far. I’m sure as the semester goes on I will learn so much more, and I’m looking forward to it. The life of an intern greatly differs from that of a student, and I’m so grateful to be able to experience it first hand. As a student at Texas A&M, I am committing to be intentional with my actions while I’m at work and also when I am off. I am making this commitment because I know that being intentional is what leads to making important connections with professionals that can help guide me in my future. As an Aggie it is important for me to make this commitment because it forces me actively think about what I am planning on doing and how that will aide in my future. My time in Washington, D.C. is a once in a life time experience, and I definitely don’t want to waste it.   

Donya Tartibi
Office of Congressman Will Hurd
Washington, D.C. | spring 2019