I have been in Washington, DC since the beginning of June, and can hardly believe I am finishing my fourth week interning at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Thanks to the PSF, I was able to sublet a great place near a metro stop, in a quiet neighborhood, with a grocery store, a few restaurants and a park nearby. But, I don’t spend much time at home. During the week I leave my place by eight in the morning and usually don’t return until nine at night.
Through the day I work on one or two long-term projects that the Research department has assigned to me. (Invariably, I also get pulled away to help with routine intern tasks: setting up or cleaning up food for Senators, escorting a visitor to an office, and occasionally filling the coffee pot.) The projects that I work on are part of research books that are put together for each Senate contest next November. I am technically the only intern in my department, which is fortunate because I can work on a variety of different assignments, but it can also cause some friendly tension when one staffer finds out that I am two-timing him or her with another project. On the advice of a Reedie who had this internship a few summers ago, I baked a cake to soothe my bosses. It worked; almost everyone enjoys a surprise cake.
The location of our office, between the Senate office buildings and the Supreme Court, allows me to catch up with friends on the Hill during lunch and spend time reading in and exploring the Library of Congress after work. Plus, this week I was able to be present outside the Supreme Court with hundreds of onlookers, as it handed down decisions on two important laws: the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act. As it turned out it was difficult to figure out immediately which way the decisions went because the mobile data networks failed due to such high population density, but it was exciting nonetheless.
Besides work, I’ve had a wonderful time going out in the city. There’s no better place for a young person interested in American politics and policy than DC in the summertime; practically everybody one meets has an interest in government even if it’s tangential. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the DC Alumni chapter gets together relatively frequently. I recently met some alums with a few Reedie friends who are here for the summer. The dim sum was delicious, and it was great fun chatting with older alums who work in law, education and journalism. I hope it is evident that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time thus far, from my day-to-day life to the occasional (somewhat) notable memory—like the time Al Gore said “hi” to me, or when a House member saved me from tripping over a folded ping-pong table.