In Our Own Words: From Prose to Policy
“For your midterm, I want an 8 page-single-spaced paper on national security policy and how it compares to domestic policy–no sources or citations should be used.” This was a real-life assignment that I recently lived through, folks.
It’s hard to believe that last year about this time I was delving into the works of Cormac McCarthy with Dr. Hardwig and refining my poetic skills with Dr. Kallet. Fast forward a year later, and I am delving into foreign policy and discussing why Congress is at gridlock.
I was nervous to begin working towards my Masters in Public Policy and Administration and for good reason. Unlike my colleagues, I had never taken a political science course. Although I was intimidated at first, I quickly realized that my English and Theatre undergraduate degree (sprinkled with life experience) was causing me to excel in graduate school. I have learned that you can connect and apply almost every skill that you learn throughout your personal journey.
My junior year at UT, I studied abroad in England. This was appropriate as I have a true and deep passion for Shakespeare. I flitted around Europe (think Amy in Little Women), learning a little about different cultures and learning a lot about myself. When I returned, I applied for the Tennessee Legislative Internship on a whim. I think in my head it was an opportunity to (once again) live in a new city and try on some of Elle Wood’s shoes for size. Often times, I view new experiences as a way to do a character-study on myself. It’s the thespian in me, I suppose.
After I received the internship, I fell in love quickly and without hesitation. I fell in love with Nashville and the legislative process entirely. My internship with UT’s Office of Government Relations and Advocacy was an invaluable experience. The program and those I met along the way were key in leading me to other learning opportunities.
I have now successfully worked in all branches of government and at all levels of government. Last semester I lived in D.C where I interned for U.S. Senator Bob Corker through the Chancellor’s Congressional Internship Program. I received graduate credit for my time there, and I learned a plethora of knowledge about Tennessee constituents and foreign policy. This summer I worked in Chancellor Cheek’s Office while also interning for Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell through CTAS. At the end of the summer, I was given the opportunity to continue working for the County in the Human Resources Office. I graduate in May, and I couldn’t be more excited to see where life takes me.
Over the last two years my journey has been pretty crazy—crazy awesome, I mean. I have learned so much about myself and the career I sort of stumbled came upon. I wouldn’t say that I have life all figured out…or anything figured out, really; but I think knowing that you don’t actually know anything is half (if not most) of the battle. This notion allows us to continue learning about the world that surrounds us, and most importantly, it allows us to keep learning about ourselves. So study prose, or study politics, or, like me, study both…but whatever you study don’t forget to study yourself along the way.