The Importance of Being an Intentional Intern!

Posted on Thursday, Dec 03, 2020

Taking a semester to travel a thousand miles from home and work for some of the most important organizations in the world is overwhelmingly exciting and is ripe with the possibilities for adventure. But, if you’re anything like me, it can also be simply overwhelming. There are thousands, if not millions of things to do in DC and the surrounding area, plus you are surrounded by new friends, making professional connections in your field, and learning how to survive in the intense, fast-paced lifestyle that is inherent in being an intern. With all that, and only a semester to do it, how do you possibly find the time to even go grocery shopping, let alone make the most of your time in DC?
One word: intentionality.
Successfully meshing with the highly caffeinated, extremely busy world here requires intentionality. Especially this semester, with the coronavirus pandemic still raging on and my internship switched to a remote option, it felt like I always had to make the most out of my time here, without the opportunities that working in person would bring. Every day, I had to wake up and intentionally choose how much I would do and where I would focus my time and energy.
Want to see the monuments lit up in the evening or explore the city? Make yourself available in the evenings, by working harder during the day to finish up your work and prep dinner ahead of time.
Want to grow my professional network? Intentionally call up supervisors, chat with friends about their work, and have Zoom calls with aides and staffers to find tips, tricks, and advice.
Want to make friends within the cohort? Get out of your comfort zone, talk to your roommates and the other interns, and say yes to the offer of dinner, or the game of volleyball/frisbee. Getting the most out of my time as a PPIP intern required saying yes and making the choice to be a part of the fun. Especially in 2020, opportunities have to be caught, not let just float by.

Evan Wheeler
Office of Congressman Lloyd Doggett
Washington, D.C. | fall 2020