Are you interested in a career in politics? Want to figure out what’s it’s like to work in DC? Alex Blake, a senior political science major, gave me some insight into what his experience working in the US Congress was like.
- Describe the internship that you had.
I interned in the US House of Representatives with a congressman. My responsibilities included leading tours of the US Capitol building for visiting constituents, performing constituent correspondence, attending briefings and hearings, and helping legislative staffers research relevant policy areas.
- Why did you decide to work in that position?
I’m a political science major and have always been interested in US politics. I wanted a way to gain real-world experience in my field of interest after my sophomore year. The congressman’s office was a great fit because I was interested in economic policy, and he served on the House Financial Services Committee.
- What was the most valuable thing you gained from the experience?
The most important thing I acquired was experience working in a fast-paced, professional environment. Given the nature of the congressional environment, I was faced with numerous tasks each day on the job, and it was important that these tasks were completed both quickly and to a standard that satisfied my supervisors. This skill is extremely important in working in both politics and has also proven helpful in several of my other professional experiences.
- What do you wish you’d done differently?
I established a network during my time in DC that has proved very helpful in pursuing internships and professional opportunities. I wish that I had made a more conscious effort to expand this network over the summer. Many of the people you’ll meet in DC are experienced and are able to provide invaluable advice and helpful contacts.
- Any advice you’d like to give to people interested in this field?
- For working on the legislative side of politics, a good way to start is to visit your representative’s webpage and apply. Many legislators give preference to applicants who are from their home districts
- Do your homework- discover what policy issues interest you the most
- Positions are often competitive, so apply for many and don’t get discouraged with ones that aren’t successful
- Do it- I gained great experience and would recommend to anyone interested in politics.