“In Our Own Words” is a collection of blogs written by English Majors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville about their experiences.
This summer, I interned for ten weeks in the Washington, D.C. office of Senator Lamar Alexander. I applied for the internship through UT’s Congressional Internship program, which I highly recommend for anyone with an interest in government, public policy, or legislation. As an intern, I answered phone calls from constituents, gave tours of the Capitol building, attended events with Senators and their staff members, compiled daily press clippings for the Senator, attended committee hearings, transcribed speeches, and wrote memos.
At first, I was extremely nervous to go to D.C. After just three days on Capitol Hill, however, my anxiety dissipated and I began to really enjoy my experience. For the first six weeks of my internship, I lived one block from the Dirksen Senate building where I would be working on the Hill. Living on the Hill was such a unique experience for me—I could see the Supreme Court and the Capitol building from my window and I lived within walking distance of all the major museums and attractions. The last four weeks of my internship, I lived in an apartment in the Foggy Bottom district of D.C. next to George Washington University and close to Georgetown. Those last four weeks were my favorite in D.C.: I was familiar with the city, comfortable in my position at work, and living just two blocks from the Lincoln Memorial!
Along with gaining valuable work experience during my internship, I also formed important relationships with staff members and was able to interact with members of Congress on a regular basis. I rode the elevator with Senator John McCain, played softball on the National Mall with Senator Alexander and Senator Bob Corker, and ate lunch in the Senate Dining Room beside Senator Rand Paul. My experience in D.C. has been extremely valuable to me both personally and professionally, and I really hope that I get to work on Capitol Hill again one day.