Tips for Surviving the Hill

Posted on Sunday, Nov 04, 2018

Interning on the Hill is one of the most exciting and challenging things you will ever experience. There have been so many things that I have experienced interning on the Hill that I would never have imagined. I have been able to attend the historic Kavanaugh hearings, go on the speaker balcony (which by the way has the best view in all of Washington D. C.), seeing where George Washington was supposed to be buried, and the hidden cat footprints in the Capitol that are rumored to be a ghost cat. There have also been some challenging times as well, such as getting lost when I am running a time sensitive errand for a staff member and much more to even list. However, these insider tips should help you when it comes to surviving the Hill.
  1. Never take the elevators that are marked for Senators only. Yes, there are elevators all over the Senate building that are for Senators only and you will be very uncomfortable when taking one of these elevators and it opens, and a Senator surrounded by the Press is getting on.
  2. Always be nice to Capitol Police. There job is hard enough dealing with all the people that come in and out of the Capitol and making sure everyone is safe that sometimes they will not always be the nicest to you, but it is important to be understanding because they are there to keep everyone safe.
  3. Always be dressed professionally. This is a given; however, even on the more casual days in the office really strive to still look put together. There are important Senators and people walking around all the time and you never know when you will bump into them. One time I was in the Rotunda of the Capitol and Vice President Mike Pence walked into the room. You will thank yourself for putting that little bit of extra time in the morning.
  4. Never be afraid to ask. This goes for your actual internship and in general. Never be afraid to ask staffers if you can sit in on a meeting or attend a certain briefing because the worse they can say is no but, on most cases, they say yes because they want you to learn just as much as you do. Also, when getting around it never hurts to ask when you are completely lost or if you see an important person it never hurts to ask if you can go in the room as well. As I said the worst they can say is no, but you will never know if you don’t ask
  5. Have fun.  This is a job but most importantly this is a learning experience in a large and exciting city. You are going to make mistakes no matter how hard you try and you will think you do not deserve to be there, but you are here for a reason and take a deep breath, give yourself a break and have fun and learn from this new adventure, who knows where it will take you.
Good luck and Gig ‘Em!

Melanie McGruder
Office of Senator John Cornyn
Washington, D.C. | fall 2018