Reflecting on My Internship Goals
Before I began my summer internship with Congressman Brendan Boyle (PA-13), I set some goals that I felt would help me maximize the experience and my learning. The three goals were: 1. Meet great people and establish a network, 2. Attend and engage myself at events, and 3. Learn about the various federal agencies. Now that I’ve only got 6 more weeks with the Congressman, I feel that it’s a good time to pause and reflect on those goals.
1. Meet great people and establish a network:
Throughout the course of my internship, I expected to be able to meet several public officials and political activists throughout my district. I looked forward to meeting those people so that I could establish a professional network within the community. Now that I’m more than two months into my internship, I can confidently say that my expectations did come true. I have had the opportunity to meet several elected officials on all levels, some of which who I didn’t even know existed (I bet you don’t know what a Prothonotary does!). While I’ve met some of these officials several times by now, I am still awestruck each time I meet them. Something about meeting the leaders of the free world really hits me each time.
Although I expected to meet several public officials, one thing I didn’t expect was having such awesome co-workers. Everyone I work with, from the interns to the senior staffers, really makes coming to work fun and enjoyable. While we all work for the same Congressman, the fact that we all come from such diverse backgrounds allows everyone to contribute significantly to the work that is done within the office.
2. Attend and engage myself at events:
One of the requirements of my internship is that I attend two district events each month. While two is the required minimum, my goal was to attend as many as I could. Although I’ve attended seven events so far, I expected to be at many more. Now that I only have six more weeks, I plan on attending at least four more events.
While I haven’t exactly achieved my goal with regards to the number of events, I think I’ve done a good job keeping myself engaged at the events that I have attended. I’ve made it a point to introduce myself and have a conversation with as many people as possible at every event. Being that most of the people who attend district events are prominent officials or political activists within the community, it is important that I continue to familiarize myself with those people. The events have not only been a good opportunity for me to network, but they have also given me the opportunity to see the “everyday-human” side of some of our nation’s leaders. A perfect example of this was during July 4th when our team marched in two parades. It was a great day to just relax and have a good time with community members while remembering the sacrifices that many heroes have made for this country.
3. Learn about the various federal agencies:
Because a lot of my work within the office will consist of assisting constituents by acting as an intermediary between them and federal agencies, I made it a point to learn as much as I could about those agencies. Now, after handling dozens of constituent cases, I can say that I feel confident with my knowledge of them. With the variety of cases that I have assisted in, I am now proficient in simple tasks such as applying for a passport and reporting identity theft to the IRS and more complex situations such as seeking asylum from dangerous countries and appealing a Veteran’s Affairs claim rejection. Regardless of my basic proficiency with most of the government agencies, I plan on continuing to expand my knowledge. However, this shouldn’t be hard to do as I seem to learn something new everyday on the job!
While it feels like just yesterday I was the new intern needing to be trained on every little process, the end of my internship is nearing. With that in mind, I plan on maximizing the time I have left so that I can continue to grow personally and professionally through this amazing opportunity.