Getting Into the Swing of Things – Elyssa Goswick

OUT ON THE HILL is the official blog of the Victory Congressional Interns. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of LGBTQ Victory Institute.

In the single month since we’ve started our internships, we’ve yet to find ourselves in the position of having nothing to do or nothing to learn. Working in a congressional office is nothing if not busy: at times, it’s been easy to feel overwhelmed by the onslaught of new and important people, confusing political jargon, and the seemingly never-ending tunnels within the capitol office buildings. Each week, I’ve found myself making an active effort to learn more about both complex political processes as well as the day-to-day conversations and mannerisms that define working on the Hill. 

The learning process has been invaluable but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been hard. Working on the Hill absolutely means walking through grandiose buildings and occasional sightings of people I’ve only ever seen on the news, but it also means expletive-laced calls from constituents, fumbling introductions to high-ranking coworkers, and constantly feeling followed by the whisper of imposter syndrome. Days that go smoothly are always a cause for celebration, and rougher days call for some rest and relaxation. Either way, it’s always best to end the day with friends.

And that’s what I  do: without fail, every night a few of the Victory interns will gather and just…hang out. Throughout this downtime with the other interns, we get the chance to connect about our shared experiences on and off the Hill. Sometimes that can be as simple as grabbing dinner and watching a movie, but some days, like this last week, it can mean heading out to the Congressional Baseball Game. By grabbing overpriced slices of pizza and sneaking further down in the stands to get a better view of President Biden in the dugout, we got to relax and spend time with friends while still embracing the unparalleled learning and experience of working and existing in the nation’s capital.

All of these little experiences allow me to stop burnout from hitting me when things get hard. Coming back to folks who are experiencing and working through the same things that I am, who share my experiences and values, has helped me to find the energy to continue to seek out learning experiences when I otherwise might have stayed in. We spend time talking policy, discussing activism, and sharing our ever-changing goals for the future. This time, while being the least “formal” part of our lives in the district, has felt like hitting the refresh button. It has felt like a reminder to keep learning and keep absorbing every opportunity that these ten weeks can bring us. This is the time that has felt like home.