Grapefruits on Capitol Hill

Posted on Tuesday, Mar 31, 2020

Have you ever found yourself in a job that you feel unprepared for? Or even unqualified for? If you have, you may recall asking yourself, “what in the world am I doing here?” I found myself in that position the first few weeks into my internship until I ran into a very important task that made me switch my mindset and view my opportunities in a whole different perspective.
What was this significant task? Delivering some Texas grapefruits to a few Congressmen on the Hill. Yup, that's right, Texas grown grapefruit. These grapefruits traveled roughly 2000 miles from the warm Texas weather to D.C., where the sun hardly shines this time of year. Packed into cardboard boxes, slightly damp from the rainy weather, these grapefruits still smelled like the south. My office uses these boxes of citrus to say ‘Thank you’ to some of the people who always keep Texas A&M in mind. Now, for an intern who doesn’t work on the Hill regularly, it can be difficult finding your way around each building and through the connecting tunnels; now imagine doing that while holding two 20-lb boxes stacked up on top of each other. The offices where these boxes were intentionally going received them (after much google mapping), and everything was fine. Yet, as I was waving down a taxi on my way back off this Hill, I stopped myself to realize where I was at. I was standing amongst members of Congress from all over the U.S., I was hailing a cab on the same curb of people who are managing decisions that affect us all, and most importantly I was roughly 2000 miles away from home with a heavy coat and umbrella. From time to time everything's happening so quickly we fail to understand how great the opportunities we choose to experience really are. Being busy makes your days and weeks fly by but it also gives you room to lose yourself from your surroundings. Much like these softball sized grapefruits, I was out of my comfort zone without even knowing it.

Maybe being out of place is something we must all experience and indulge in while it’s happening. What this task taught me was instead of looking at small, slightly weird tasks in a negative light - experience yourself in a whole new atmosphere and make the most of every second of it.

Alexis Casiano
Texas A&M University System Office of Federal Relations
Washington, D.C. | spring 2020