Hi everyone!! I concluded my summer internship on Capitol Hill a few weeks ago, and have since been reflecting on the experience I had in such a fast moving, different environment. Looking back on my experience on the Hill, there are a few key takeaways I walked away with that will continue to inform my life and perspective as a student at Pitt.
One of the biggest takeaways I gained from my internship experience was a better knowledge of what I see myself doing and the environment I want to work in during my professional career. There’s no doubt that the Hill is an extremely fast paced environment, one that you have to go above and beyond to succeed in. This internship has shown me that the culture and overall tone of your work environment is extremely important. Before this experience, I never really considered that aspect of a career as something that was make or break, but now it’s become extremely important to me that when I eventually begin my professional career, I take into account the work environment I’ll be stepping into. At the office I worked at, the culture and environment was incredible. It truly made it so much more meaningful and enjoyable to go to work everyday. I can also imagine that a bad office environment will have the opposite effect. This concern makes looking for a work environment I fit well in vitally important during future job searches.
Another takeaway from my internship experience was a better understanding of what being a professional and working a full time job looks like. As a college student, I’m used to having a lot of flexibility when balancing my personal and student life. I can schedule classes whenever I want, I have most of my day to work on assignments at my own pace, and an overall sense of flexibility with my routine. Working a full time job, however, significantly limits what you can do with your weekdays and free time. This internship has provided me with a better idea of how to create a healthy work-life balance, and maximize my time outside of the office to the fullest. This is a skill I’ll be able to apply to my life as a student as I continue my educational career, as well as take with me when I begin my professional life.
Working on the Hill has shown me that I’m on the right professional path and going into a field I feel passionate about. I absolutely loved working with policy and on legislative projects. Even working with topics that initially didn’t sound too interesting to me, such as infrastructure work or health policy, proved to be incredibly engaging and I really enjoyed spending time learning more about them. This confirmed that I want to work in the policy field, even if that path doesn’t lead to a full time career on the Hill. I definitely enjoyed my time there, and could see myself working in that environment full time.
I saw many areas of growth during my time on the Hill, the most prominent one being my professional and networking skills. This was my first experience working full-time in such a professional, high stakes setting, and I really saw a huge change in my perspective before working there and after. I was able to grow as a young professional, and better understand the mechanics of networking among colleagues and ensuring professionalism at all times.
Overall, my time on Capitol Hill was incredible. I got to explore a new city, make great personal and professional connections, and do work directly related to my passions and interests. It helped further shape my view of my future goals and path, proving invaluable as I start my junior year and have to start seriously considering my post graduate plans.