Nebraska Society Scholarship 2011
Being a History major at the University of Oregon, I many times was asked what I would do with this knowledge. I found myself answering this question with “I’m not too sure.” I took it upon myself to ask around and see what my options were. Over Christmas break I was talking with my cousins, who live on Capital hill, hey told me about the vast amount of internships available during the summer. I didn’t know at the time if politics was the path I wanted to take, but I applied knowing I would be exposed to a new world, one of which, I knew nothing about. I was given a spot in Senator Ben Nelson’s office. It became a no brainer I was on my way to Washington D.C.
I flew to Ronald Reagan, with high hopes of what was in store for me. I was meet by my cousin, and took to his home on the hill. This would home for the next six weeks. On the drive in alone I was blown away. To get to my cousin’s home we had to drive past the monuments, talk about an awesome sight. When we arrived at my cousin’s home, I quickly threw my bags in my room, and took off on a run, to see D.C. for myself. The run was one I will always remember. I ran to the Capital, Washington, the World War II memorials, the Lincoln monument, and over the bridge. At the time I didn’t know where I was, but I decided to continue. I found myself running down a road with military unit crests all around me, I was intrigued. I remember I turned and there it was, the rows and rows of white headstones, I had run to Arlington Cemetery. Looking upon the headstones, I realized this is the foundation of our nation, just seeing Arlington; the trip was already worth it.
My Time in the office was a great experience. The staffers in Nelson’s office were very helpful and respectful. Many of them I became close to, and still stay in contact with today. It was great to work with other people from different schools around the United States, bringing our views together. The office was very similar to a family, with a very positive feeling to the office.
There was always something for the interns to do. Whether it was reading through the mail or working with D-LA on legislation, we always had something on our plate. Each one of the interns had their own workspace making working easy and valuable. We would also give tours to constituents from Nebraska. This was my favorite part of the internship. Not only did I get to spend time out of the office, I got to meet people from other countries and see how they felt about the United States government. Taking people over to the capital was a great experience; I looked forward to every day. I became a little bit num to it over time, but at the end of the day it’s always, worth it.
Answering phones always posed to be a interesting job. I was in the office during the “debt crisis”. This made for some interesting phones calls and thoughts about how we should solve our problems. When free time was found, I would make it out to hearings going on around the hill. There were always meetings and hearings around the hill. These were great opportunities to learn and hear other viewpoints on matters.
The information and knowledge I took away from the internship is irreplaceable. I learned just how much a Senator does and deal with in an average day. Senators are always running around, meeting committees or with their staff. Until this internship I never realized the vast number of issues there are in government. It is more complex and pressing then people think. I also gained knowledge of how persuasive news sources can be. News sources of all types drove the ideas of our constituents. They can really change the image of America and guide the direction in which the media want the image to move.
This was an unforgettable experience. I would recommend interning on the hill, whether you’re thinking about politics or not. I believe it is positive for an Americans to understand the inner workings of our government and apply it to their voting process.