Excelling on the Hill

Posted on Thursday, Apr 02, 2020

Moving to a new city can be very intimidating but taking the leap could be just the thing you need to step outside of your comfort zone, grow as a young professional, as well as discover what you’re really passionate about in life! I have officially been an Aggie Intern on Capitol Hill for about a month and here are the most valuable realizations and lessons I have learned so far!

#1- Show up to work with a smile on your face every day!
When you show up with a willing and positive attitude, people notice it very quickly! It’s a breath of fresh air for those that spend their days drafting legislation, scheduling meetings, and researching various policy issues. Any task that is given to you, accept it willingly and happily, complete it to the best of your ability, and always ask if there is anything else you can assist the team with! This is essential to stand out and start building relationships within your office. Once you gain their trust and respect, your co-workers might even connect you with other professionals on the Hill that would expand your D.C. network! It’s the little things that make the biggest impacts.

#2- Do not be afraid to challenge yourself and take on new tasks and activities!
If you’re not stepping outside of your comfort zone and making a deliberate effort to learn and try new things… you’re missing out on a ton of opportunities! My first week on Capitol Hill a piece of advice I received was, “If you don’t meet anyone outside of your office in the time you’re here, you wasted your time and missed the whole point of being here”. Check out Hill Happenings and see what briefings and hearings might interest you! Look into things you know nothing about. Focus on learning as many skills as possible! The more skills you learn, the more marketable you become. Each week it would be beneficial to set small goals for yourself. For example, tell yourself that you’ll read 2 articles over a certain issue area and make 5 connections that week. Being proactive will set you up for success and help you track all the progress and knowledge you’ve gained!

#3- Embrace the D.C. culture! Network, network, network
Whether you’re at a reception or just running errands in the House Office Buildings, take the time to connect with others and learn a little more about them and what they do! You never know what could come out of these relationships. What I have learned is that most of the people on Capitol Hill are more than willing to help, but you have to make the effort to show you care and want to learn! Grabbing coffee is the secret language to expanding your network here in D.C.! Don’t be afraid to take notes on the advice you’re given, bring a copy of your resume to share, and always follow up and express how thankful you are for their time and helpfulness!

Laycee Gibson
Office of Congressman Chip Roy
Washington, D.C. | spring 2020