Alex, Class of 2013
(originally posted December 13, 2012)
Greetings from the Republican National Committee!
Today marks my last day as an intern at the RNC. I can hardly believe how quickly these last few months have gone by. It does not seem possible that I started this job three months ago as a timid, yet eager intern, and today I am leaving as a more confident and enthusiastic version of myself. Please excuse the rather sentimental nature of this post, but I simply cannot express in any other way just how thankful I have been for this experience.
The other day as I was writing an internship evaluation paper for my class, I decided to look back onto some of the weekly journals that I had been required to keep throughout the semester. It was great to see just how much has happened in my time here. Here are a few snippets that I think really sum up my experience:
Week 1:“My first day was not quite what I had expected.”
When I came across this one I chuckled. I will never forget how incredibly bored I was on my first day. I literally sat at my desk for 6 hours doing nothing by read over the 10 page intern handbook I had been given. It was that day that I seriously started thinking I had made a mistake by coming to Washington. I was terrified that my entire semester was going to be like this. Glad to see I made it look like much more of a positive experience when I wrote about it in my journal!
Week 2: “Whether it is going to lunch with people in my division, grabbing a drink after work, or just taking a break in the middle of the day to chat, it is apparent that politics is truly about who you know. This has come into play outside of the office as well. I have learned that it is to your advantage to carry around a few business cards at all times. You never know who you might meet!”
I am so glad to see that I learned this lesson early on! Looking back on it, I do remember just how apparent it was to me right from the get go. I am also glad that I carried this lesson throughout the semester. As I clean out my desk and look at my collection of business cards (who knew just how vitally important these little pieces of paper would come to be?!), I can see that this really did pay off.
Week 5: “By the end of the weekend, I had made over 500 phone calls and knocked on over 150 doors. Needless to say, it was exhausting yet very rewarding.”
I wrote this in a journal entry that I made right after coming home from a campaign trip to North Carolina. It was over the course of this weekend that I decided I absolutely love political campaigns. It was great to see all of the strategy my office had been working on actually implemented in the field. Befrore coming to Washington, I was not entirely sure campaigns and elections were of interest to me. However, after I spent a weekend working in a victory office and getting involved with the ground campaign, I decided that campaigns are where my passion lies. This such a rewarding weekend.
Week 6: “Not only did I have the opportunity to spend the debate with fellow republicans, but I also had the opportunity to meet Karen Hughes.”
Alright. People may laugh at me, but I am still star struck when I meet certain people in Washington. Karen Huges was the first ‘important’ political figure that I truly had the chance to meet and interact with. The Republican Party of VA had brought her in as a special guest at the Arlington Victory Office debate watch party. In fact, I sat right next to her during the debate, and we chatted throughout. This was a major turning point for me. Before meeting her, these ‘important’ political figures almost intimidated me. After I met her, I realized that they are just people like you and me. In fact, there is nothing at all intimidating about them, and they like when you approach them and strike up a conversation!
Week 7: “I thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity to take on this leadership role, and I look forward to do more with volunteer coordination for many elections to come. “
Perhaps the most amazing opportunity I had while in Washington, was leading a campaign trip to VA. Just as meeting Karen Hughes was a turning point, so was this. This was when I realized that I was capable of taking on this leadership role, and pulling together a fantastic weekend of campaigning. I was thrown into taking on this task, but it could not have been a better learning experience.
These are just some small pieces of my journals that really stuck out to me. They each tell a bit of my own DC story. However, I think that one quote in particular truly sums up my experience.
“After the election, people asked me if I regretted doing an internship with the RNC given the results. I absolutely do not. Just in my short time in this office, I have been able to learn a lot about elections and the campaigning process. The results last Tuesday may not have been what we were looking for, but there is no question that the experiences I gained working on this campaign are invaluable.”
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