Being an intern in D.C. means juggling between being a young professional, a student and more. Each week, my schedule looks a little different, but living here has allowed me to set goals and live every day the fullest I possibly can.
Here’s a look at one of my weeks as an intern.
Mondays are usually the most jam-packed days of the week for me. I’m not a morning person, so I made myself a cup of Black Milk Tea to energize myself before our weekly staff meeting at 10AM. I wanted to get a head start on my weekly tasks, so I dove right in, finalizing our monthly newsletter, updating Salesforce contact lists and producing an intro and outro for our Facebook Live videos. After lunch, I turned to my sketchbook to brainstorm ideas for the latest design project I was assigned: a promotional brochure for a fellowship. I was pleasantly surprised at everything I accomplished in the day.
I walked back to my apartment just in time to make a quick meal before my 6:30PM evening course. Through the Washington Center, I am taking a course titled “Campaigning for a Cause,” where we learn about different campaigning strategies and their effectiveness. By the time the class ended at 9:30PM, I was exhausted. Knowing I have a busy week ahead of me, I went back to my room to start on a newly-assigned research paper before I got too sleepy for productivity, around midnight.
Tuesday was a little different than most work days. The regular work day was business-as-usual but my organization, The Future of Privacy Forum, hosted an event in the evening. The 2018 Privacy Papers for Policymakers — a panel event discussing selected papers on privacy by their authors — was hosted inside the Capitol building. Although it was a very long day, it was an experience that made me think to myself: “Wow, I am interning and living in Washington D.C.” Being able to participate in such a highly-recognized event was a magical experience.
At 9PM, I stopped by different corners on the way home to take a few night shots of D.C. This city’s beauty never ceases to amaze me, particularly the Capitol Hill area, which is adjacent to the Residential Academic Facility (RAF) where I live.
It’s a 40 minute walk each way to work, which gives me time to catch up on podcasts while getting my steps in for the day. I arrived at work around 9:30AM, and we had a communications meeting in the afternoon. After I got back to my apartment, I microwaved a meal I’d prepared the day prior, and headed to the common area of the Residential and Academic Facility of The Washington Center for our bi-weekly Intergroup Social Justice Dialogue. The purpose of this group is for us to speak openly about social justice issues with fellow TWC interns, and this week’s topic was LGBTQ+ rights. It was a stimulating conversation, and I was able to speak about it more with some friends after the event, too.
After work, I conducted an informational interview with someone I’d reached out to via LinkedIn. We spoke about his experience being a UX Designer, and he offered several great resources. Above doing it for an assignment, it was a great opportunity to network with fellow designers in the city.
When I got home, I got together with my friend – who is also interning in D.C. – with whom I had planned a home-cooked dinner to celebrate small victories, such as future internship acceptance and surviving another week of week. We chatted about life until it was both our time to shower and meal prep for the next day.
For Friday’s LEAD Programming, we had the Simpson-Mineta Leaders Series hosted by The Washington Center, which consisted of a panel discussion of the United States’ relationship with its bordering neighbors: Mexico and Canada. The panelists consisted of the former ambassador of the U.S. in Mexico and the Mexican Ambassador in the U.S., among others. The Q&A session was equally engaging and educational, and it was exciting hearing all the voices of my peers in the program.
After the session ended, I went back to my apartment to clean and pack. I then eagerly headed to Union Station at 1PM to catch a bus up to Boston where I planned to visit for the weekend.
The life of an intern in Washington D.C. is actually quite amazing. It is learning to accept failures and celebrate successes. I am lucky to have The Washington Center and the Future of Privacy Forum for guiding, pushing, and supporting me.