OUT ON THE HILL is the official blog of the Victory Congressional Interns. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of LGBTQ Victory Institute. Learn more about the internship at victoryinstitute.org/vci.
I have always been known to be the busy, over-productive person in every friend group. I love having things to constantly do and look forward to, so I have always been highly dedicated to commitments like academic work, internships, volunteering, and more. I wanted to test my ability to juggle so much simultaneously that I applied for an internship outside of my city and state—for the first time ever. That internship just so happened to be the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute’s Congressional Internship (VCI)!
I was born and raised in Queens, New York City. I moved to Buffalo in 2019 with my mother and sister due to financial crises, driving us out of the city that never sleeps—our forever home. I was transferring schools and suddenly the following question was thrown at me: “Would you like to graduate a year early?” With anxious confusion, I accepted. I managed to apply for colleges, financial aid and scholarships, and take the SAT exam—all as a low-income, first-generation, daughter of two Muslim, Bangladeshi immigrants. I was accepted to every college I had applied for and decided to pursue my undergraduate career at University at Buffalo.
I have been double majoring in Criminology and Health and Human Services, while minoring in Global Gender and Sexuality Studies. I have been engaging with communities and society overall through being a teacher, mentor, resource house center volunteer, and much more. But what I have not done is contribute to the policies I believe in through any political, governmental ways. I felt like and believed that interning on Capitol Hill through VCI would be a life-changing experience on a multitude of levels/scales—and now, I can say it has been.
It was a major step for me to apply for VCI—aside from my strict, religious, desi (Brown) immigrant mother being a potential barrier, I was also questioning my adaptation skills in a city and state that I have never visited before. I told myself, “If I can do NYC, I can do this”. Although working in Washington, D.C. was something I never thought of or imagined. Being here is such a dream and I am humbled every day, every hour, every minute, and every second of my internship program and stay in Washington, D.C.
I will never forget my flight from Buffalo to Washington D.C! This is not only because the guy next to me took my window seat but because even after getting on the plane, I still could not comprehend how I landed such an amazing opportunity! Although I was nervous about how to live on my own for a period of time, in a new city and new state with no friends or family–I was still excited to make the most of it! Prior to my first day in the office of my Congressman, I was worried that I would feel overwhelmed and not be able to handle the number of tasks I would be assigned. It only took me my first day to realize that I love what I do! I have learned a lot—just during my first week here in Washington, D.C. – both as a VCI intern and being one of my Congressman’s interns.
I have already learned so many helpful tips for future resumes, cover letters, networking, and more! Things as simple as incorporating certain verbs from specific job postings or listings into my resume can be such a subtle yet life-changing action. I have learned not only more about America’s historical figures and events, but also about myself and diversity overall. Diversity is crucial for functioning with communities and society as a whole. I noticed that Washington D.C. is very diverse in nature and so multiculturalism prospers–just like it does in NYC. Although Buffalo is statistically the second most diverse and populated city in the state of New York, neighborhoods are extremely segregated thus limiting cultural diffusion–regardless of the statistics. I deeply appreciate the diversity element in cities like NYC and D.C. and try my best to immerse myself in it–through attending events, workshops, and more. I realized that I have applied various skills I have attained from interning at art museums and with a non-profit news organization, to working closely with youth and families throughout my life, to office work with NYC Department of Transportation’s EEO, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) office, and more. With having to deal with constituent calls and voicemails, media and trending topics, networking with total strangers, giving tours of significant history, and more—I am having fun while completing my internship! I am beyond grateful with the fact that I can enjoy my internship, while juggling 6 classes, and other priorities.