What Not to Expect When You Are Interning

Posted on Friday, Mar 03, 2017

Think of everything you know about Washington D.C., think of everything you know about interning, think about everything you know about living in a different city, and do yourself a favor: forget all of it. Coming in with absolutely no expectations is the greatest thing you can do. It allows you to start with a blank canvas, ready for any and every experience that comes your way.

Washington D.C. is a city like no other. The other night, I found myself sitting on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial with a few other interns. The crisp February air surrounded us as we looked over the glittering city lights reflected on the Potomac, while the Washington Monument stood starkly against the night sky. Just sitting there made us all stop and think and it just hit us: we are actually here. We are in Washington D.C. This city is the center of conversation around the world and we are here while the excitement and frenzy unfolds around us.

So far I have had the opportunity to be a part of a presidential inauguration, a historic Women’s March, and several different monuments and historic locales. As an intern on Capitol Hill, I have the unique opportunity of working behind the scenes of the current political stage. Working for the House Democratic Caucus encompasses chances to be a part of exciting events such as the Democratic Issues Conference but it is also long hours and a lot thinking on your feet. It’s going in thinking that you’ll just be an intern that will be helping to set up for a meeting but walking out with a chance to meet John Lewis. It is days that allow you the opportunity to attend various Congressional hearings and briefings and its days that are so busy that you can’t move from your desk. It is going in expecting the unexpected.

In a blink of an eye, almost half my time in this city is already over. Coming into this experience without the safety net of expectations opens you to newer and exciting opportunities and more importantly, opens you up to understanding and knowing yourself. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and it is what you make it, so use your time and ask yourself: what do you want out of all this?

Sarah Ahmed
House Democratic Caucus
Washington, D.C.