D.C. Energy

Perseverance against all defying odds is the most prominent overarching message in Robert Frost’s poem, “Two Tramps in Mud Time”. Now, not necessarily just against odds, but it reinforces the concept of self-awareness. This theme portrays a story of an individual that routinely gets challenged, even when they are at their peak. However, despite the individual being at their peak, they don’t stoop to the level of the challenger; instead of taking the path of growth.

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.

You know how it is with an April day

When the sun is out and the wind is still,

You’re one month on in the middle of May.

But if you so much as dare to speak,

A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,

A wind comes off a frozen peak,

And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”

 

Personally, this was the most powerful stanza through the entire poem. It advises one to not get ahead of themselves; all the while, absorbing and living in the present. Jumping to conclusions and getting too comfortable may cost you a lot, especially when you lose track of the reality of your immediate surroundings. Once you reach the point of over-confidence, that is when the pillars of the foundation begin to fall.

 

“Out of the wood two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night,
But not long since in the lumber camps).
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
The judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handled an ax
They had no way of knowing a fool.”

This stanza depicts being over-confident, and uninformed assumptions. The narrator explains how they received direct condescending judgments based on zero merits. Yet, the narrator ensured that they did not lower their character, or contribute to the intolerance. Overall, the narrator minded their own business and focused on the quality of their work. The narrator was able to shut down the judgment in an organic manner, simply by focusing on their work. This is a very important lesson that often goes unnoticed, especially in the competitive work field. Essentially, workers don’t want to stay on one level for all the consecutive years of their employable life. This can make the work field very tense, and one that may carry a cloud of skepticism, concern, and a constant need to compete. People who adhere to this mentality typically lose focus on their goals and their work, because they are instead occupied with constantly being the best person in the world. From experience, I have been surrounded by similar energy and it acknowledging it can be very draining and toxic for a person. The toxicity affects not just from the person receiving it, but from the person distributing it as well. When one distributes that sort of energy, they are projecting on their own incompetence and insecurity. Instead of finding ways to personally improve and grow, they re-direct their interests on finding flaws in other people, instead of making an introspective analysis of themselves.

After multiple internships, jobs, and completing an entire summer internship program in the nation’s capital, I can truthfully say that I have avoided adopting that toxic idealistic mindset. Of course, that type of negative energy will be prevalent as long as you are working towards a goal, but not acknowledging it has better benefits. That type of mindset can be draining if invested into, and it takes away from one’s own chance to grow. I can proudly say that I have avoided participating or reciprocating into that negative mentality as I explore more career options and surround myself with a multitude of environments. This has paid-off for obvious reasons! This has allowed me to take full advantage of the opportunities given to me in this internship program and others. My time in D.C. has been emotionally, and professionally rewarding. Working with the Madison Group has taught me a variety of life lessons that I will carry on to my future work and endeavors. From the people I was closest to at the firm, Robb taught me how to always have a point on-hand ready for an argument, Marcus taught me how to close a deal and appeal your goals to people, Marissa taught me how to defend myself and my values even in tough situations, and David taught me to fight for and to never forget the environment or community you came from. Seeing all of these lessons actively applied to their professional careers and not just as an empty statement was refreshing and tied the overall message together almost as a present. Finally, this summer made me appreciate the city as a whole as I had the opportunity to see it in a new light. I made some very drastic life decisions while I was here in D.C. all of which were made due to the environment I was in. Regardless if I decide to relocate here in the future or not, I am going to embody the lessons I learned during my internship and take with me the fast-paced energy that D.C. executes.

 

 

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In every end, there is also a beginning

I came to this city with my eyes wide open, I would joke to partners that if I were a sponge, I want to leave D.C. completely filled with information and knowledge. And this city did not disappoint, every day there was something new and fascinating I would learn, either during hearings, listening to speakers  or simple banter between friends. I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity to stay and learn from D.C. most knowledgable people in these last two months.

For our final assignment, the first thought that came to mind when reading “Two Tramps in Mud Time”, was a conversation with a firm’s partner. We were discussing what drives people to come to this city beside the obvious. The point I addressed was that many work in the political arena to establish positive change in the system. Where as the counter argument was that while everyone would like the opportunity to influence policy positively, many forget their original goal with time. This point isn’t hard to imagine, as someone who has worked in environments that are fairly repetitive, I could understand how one “loses their way”. And while the following stanza of the poem does not say the two outside character lost their way I do believe it plays a part.

Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay
And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man’s work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right—agreed.

I think that at some point they too loved to their work as lumberjacks but as time went on and more pressing issues came up, their love turned to need. My interpretation of what the writer is also saying is while he understood the strangers position, it did not qualify reason enough for him to set aside and let the two finish the job. I think its important to keep in mind that there will always be people coming in and out of ones life, saying they’re a better option for a project or have more suitable skill sets to complete a task, and to remember ones value in light of what other may be saying.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.

My favorite stanza from the whole poem was “My object in living is to unite”. This line encompasses what I dream a life work will be; To work an in industry the empowers and improves peoples future and day to day life. Growing up I’ve seen the toll it has on people who work only to sustain their livelihood, and while I understand the need, I do feel it important to make use ones skills to help others in the process.

This process, for me, can only be done here in D.C., the center of policy making. Where conversations of change start over simple interactions in dinner or cafe meetings. And because of this, I’ll be back. This city may not be my forever home but it will play a part in my life.

See you soon,

Daisy.

 

 

 

Stan Becomes A Man

Working in Washington, D.C. has been an incredible experience. I’ve met many great people and have learned so much. Overall, the trip has been very humbling. It was interesting to see how people interact with each other in this city. People act very friendly but I can tell there is a huge sense of competition.

According to Robert Frost’s poem, “Two Tramps in Mud Time” two men come to apparently attempt to take his job as a lumberjack. Robert Frost wrote, “I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind. And let the other go on a way. I knew pretty well what he had in mind: He wanted to take my job for pay.”

This seems familiar with D.C. culture. Many people, especially on the hill, are seeking power. Many people constantly want to move up the ranks regardless of morality. While I’m not implying this is a majority of people in D.C., there is a disconnect between intent for public service and personal gain. This is something that I have been personally conflicted with as I question is this an area that I want to pursue a career in or if this town would just serve as a stepping stone for me in terms of personal growth.

I had a great experience working at the Northeast-Midwest Institute and I believe they do great work for the community and for the environment. For other companies this varies. I remember my uncle telling me a story when I was younger about one of his former jobs. He worked at a charity where he eventually got onto the board. After attending a few of the banquets, he began to question how much of the money was actually going to charity. Upon finding out that much of the money was being pocketed, he quit the job.

Relating to Robert Frost’s poem, I want a career that encompasses my values and morals. Wherever I may end up, I want to enjoy my job and work hard at it. I’m thankful for all D.C. has taught me, and I look forward to my future endeavors.

 

Two Tramps in Mud Time

The poem, “Two Tramps in Mud Time” by Robert Frost illustrates the self-awareness the main character has after two strangers make him question his joy in splitting wood. While the man sees splitting wood as an enjoyable task, the two strangers see it as a means for survival to earn money. This forces the man to reconsider how privileged he is to have a hobby that others would value as an opportunity for advancement, “They knew they had but to stay their stay / And all their logic would fill my head: / As that I had no right to play / With what was another man’s work for gain. / My right might be love but theirs was need. / And where the two exist in twain / Theirs was the better right–agreed.”  He concludes that he would only find fulfillment by uniting his passion (splitting wood) with prioritizing the needs of others, so he passes off the axe to the two strangers.

The message of this poem resonates with me, as I see my work and uplifting others as synonymous. I make it an effort to prioritize cultivating means of advancing others in alignment with my role as an organizer. Over the past three days, I facilitated training workshops for our Summer Advocacy institute, mentoring high school students on how to build a campaign and how to organize. Sharing my knowledge and experience, in addition to recognizing the advantageous position I have as an intern within a well-resourced civil liberties organization, allowed me to “pass off the ax” to the next generation of organizers whom need the resources I may take for granted. Alternatively, I can envision myself as one of the strangers demanding to be passed the ax at the beginning of my internship experience, and now I am empowered to share my newly earned wealth with others.

Live in the Moment

My time in DC has been marked by periods full of fun and learn yet also filled with the trials and tribulation of being an unpaid intern. After reading the poem “Two Tramps in the Mud” and reviewing my time in the internship I think it hits at the importance to work in a job you are passionate and feel you make a difference in doing based on the lines below.

 

My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done

I greatly enjoyed my time in internship and being on the hill has allowed me to view the legislative process through a first-hand experience. Yet at I was frustrated with how idle/ seemingly meaningless my work in the office felt at certain times and days. The author talks in the moment about admiring the beauty of his situation. In my view this relates to how even in these moments of idleness we need to stop and admire the real beauty of the ability to be in DC and explore everything it has to offer. We as a western society are taught that we always need to be go go go never stop and promote the most worker productivity as possible, yet in doing so we drain ourselves of the joy of our careers and daily actions. After the reading the poem there is a difference in viewing as craft as necessity and a joy, and the vitalness to tie these two together to promote positive change. Furthermore, relating my time in DC to the poem I thinks it key to recognize the line is the deed ever really done. We as a society often focus on just getting to the next milestone yet is the deed ever really done? Making positive change is importance, but there will always be new issues, ideas, and problems that need to be addressed, if we focus on just solving these as a checklist we rob ourselves of our fulfillment.

aVOCATION

Internships are what you make of them. Just as in the poem, Two Tramps in Mud Time, it is easy to get comfortable with the day to day grind – wake up, go to work, come home, repeat. This can feel boring and unrewarding, like chopping down tree after tree. You become used to the weight of the ax in your hand (or, in the intern’s case, the phone) and it can become unexciting….if you let it. I know this because my internship last summer was exactly this way. To be fair, all I did – and all they needed me to do – was schedule appointments all day but still, the redundancy of early mornings, computer screens, and patient diagnostics became draining. That was not the case this summer though I know it easily could have been as I have watched the routine knock out other people. I believe the poem warns of this occurrence when it says “be glad of water, but don’t forget the lurking frost in the earth beneath that will steal forth after the sun is set and show on the water its crystal teeth.” To me, this means that one should be glad to have a job but that they should not take it for granted or get too comfortable for fear of someone taking your job from you.

In my office, there are essential intern duties: answering phones, logging constituent complaints, and giving tours. If I wanted to, this could be all I did all day. But, I realize, there are so many people who would kill for my internship and happily take my place if I let them, just as the author in the poem states “ I knew pretty well what he had in mind: He wanted to take my job for pay” – except interns want to take my job for no pay. Instead of sticking to my designated projects this summer, I asked and took on more work, and, if they didn’t have any for me, I went to hearings and met up with contacts in D.C. for coffee and to expand my network. Everyday has been different and I have loved every minute of it.

However, the summer has gone by all too fast. “The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day, when the sun is out and the wind is still, you’re one month on in the middle of May.” These lines, to me, really speak to how fast time can go by. I feel like it was just yesterday that the Capital Scholars took a day trip to Annapolis. I have learned so much this summer and formed so many meaningful relationships that I know will continue even after returning to Tempe.

Another concept in the poem that I believe closely relates to my internship is when the author states “the time when most I loved my task, the two must make me love it more”. For me, the two mentioned is the passage of time. The closer I get to leaving my job, the more I realize just how much I have received from my internship this summer and how much I will miss the hustle and bustle of the Capitol. I am realizing just how incredible it is that I was in the Capitol building when Supreme Court Justice Kennedy announced his retirement, when two huge immigration bills came to the floor, when Trump visited Helsinki and the whole world went mad. I know someday this is what people will read about in history books.

More than anything, this internship has made me realize that I love what I study. As the author of the poem states, “my object in living is to unite my avocation and my vocation”. For me, I hope that one day politics does just that. As for now, I am taking my Capitol experience to the campaign trail as I found out today that I am accepted as an intern for Greg Stanton’s run for Congress. I am excited to see where this new chapter leads, I am truly hoping it is right back here to Washington D.C.

 

The Final Chapter

It’s so hard to say goodbye to DC. I can’t even explain how much growth I’ve gained since I been here but will do my best. After reading the poem called “Two Tramps in the Mud”, written by Robert Frosts. I came across three stanzas that were relatable to my experience. I’m not sure if this is the correct interpretation of the poem, but it is my interpretation. In the Second Stanza of the poem it says:

“Good blocks of oak it was I split, as large around as the chopping block; And every piece I squarely hit. Fell splinterless as a cloven rock. The blows that a life of self-control. Spares to strike for the common good. That day, giving a lose my soul, I spent on the unimportant wood”

From my view, the speaker is describing his passion for wood chopping even though others might not see it as important. To him continuing to chop at the wood to perfect his craft is ideal, despite what others may think. When spring semester is over, and you’ve submitted your final exam, most college students are thinking about what they’ll be packing for their vacation. Instead of packing to relax; I packed to work 40 hours a week, stay up for countless nights working on projects, memorize multiple bills and what they do, reading academic articles focusing on my policy research and stressing over deadlines. All of this was to gain experience in my craft and learn about the development and implementation of policy. Although this trip was stressful for me at times, it was a well invested one.

The sixth stanza stood out to me as well, it says: The time when most I loved my task, the two must make me love it more. By coming with what they came to ask. You’d think I never had felt before. The weight of an ax-head poised aloft, the grip of earth on outspread feet, the life of muscles rocking soft and smooth and moist in vernal heat.

This stanza refers to the two tramps wanting to take over his job of wood cutting. This stanza made me think about how blessed I am to have been placed in the position I’m in. Most duties given to hill interns consist of answering phone calls, making coffee and responding to constituent letters. With my internship, I was given the opportunity to assist my staffers in conducting research, draft policy memorandums and develop highly imperative and transferable skills that will make me competitive in the workplace. It really wasn’t until I spoke with the ranking member about everything I’ve learned that truly made me appreciate this whole experience. This program is highly competitive and with so many qualified applicants, I am very humbled and honored to have participated.

The last stanza that stood out to me was the final stanza of the poem, it says: “But yield who will to their separation, my object in living is to unite. My avocation and my vocation as my two eyes make one in sight. Only where love and need are one, and the work is play for mortal stakes, Is the deed ever really done? For Heaven and the future’s sakes.

The lines that stood out to me the most was “My avocation and my vocation as my two eyes make one in sight. Only where love and need are one, and the work is play for mortal stakes”. This internship gave me my first taste in policy-making and as stressful as it was – it was also a blast! My goal is to land a career where work can feel like play at the same time. Nothing made me happier than to see the final product of my work and reflect on my process. I can see myself pursuing a career in policy and I look forward to overcoming all the struggles that come with it.

Overall, I’ve learned so much being a Capital Scholar. I learned about the power of networking, different career pathways and other professional skills. The Committee on Education and the Workforce taught me the necessary skills needed to work in policy and helped me decide on exactly which policy area I want to pursue. I will never forget this experience and I can’t wait to see what opportunities await me.