Take the Leap

Posted on Thursday, Nov 28, 2019

I didn’t know it in the moment, but last July I made one of the single most consequential decisions of my life. I made the jump, I decided to take an internship in Washington D.C.

I was torn. I was going to be a senior philosophy/history major at Texas A&M, law school is on the horizon and I wasn’t sure I wanted to take a semester off school. I had a great class schedule for the fall and I was set to take on a more senior roll in student government on A&M’s Judicial Court. I had plenty of reasons to stay but I decided to take a gamble and roll the dice on the unknown.

I couldn’t have made a better decision.

My time in D.C. has been action packed and I have been fortunate to interact with countless incredible people and organizations. One of my greatest lessons learned since moving here is that D.C. is a very opportunity dense area, even for an intern at the bottom of the totem pole.

Among the opportunities these friendships and organizations afforded me was the fulfillment of my #1 internship goal, getting published. In my short time writing, the Heritage Foundation their media infrastructure has allowed me to publish multiple OpEds, making me a contributor at The Daily Signal and Heritage.org.

Another great lesson learned was opportunity strikes when you least expect it. Be prepared for it. Have those shoes shined, keep a clean suit, stay clean shaven or well-trimmed. It sounds corny but dress for success. Adhering to this principle has reaped me countless rewards like receptions with Supreme Court Justices, special trips to the White House and meals with experts at the top of my dream profession.

Maybe the best lesson I have learned in D.C. is the value of networks. Shake hands, give out business cards, remember names… hard work pays off. I would be willing to bet at least half of the cool opportunities I have been afforded are a result of proactivity. Also remember that D.C. is a small town and the major players know each other, never burn a bridge you can afford to save.

As a student at Texas A&M I am committed to preserving and advancing the excellent reputation Texas A&M has in Washington D.C.. Countless aggies have come before me and laid the bricks that have, in part, helped to make my internship a success. It is important we, as Aggies, represent the best of our University and in turn push more aggies closer to the seat of power in this country. We need more good people in government. Wow about more Aggies?

You don’t know what you don’t know. When you’re making your pro-con list you simply won’t be able to account for the wealth of unknown opportunity that permeates the beltway. Gamble on yourself, take the experience and make the most of it. What does D.C. have in store for you?

  • Take the leap
  • Opportunities come when you least expect
  • Build your network
P. Henry Featherston
Heritage Foundation
Washington, D.C. | fall 2019