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.