OutPower

Now What – Lauren Glass

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

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As I approach my final week with the Victory Institute on Capitol Hill, I find myself anxious about the future. When I first arrived in DC, I was anxious as well – but for completely different reasons. Two months felt SO long – what if I didn’t make friends? What if I hated my office and had to drag myself there for 40 hours a week regardless? What if I was homesick and missed my family? What if I hated DC? I mostly just had feelings of anxiety surrounding the fact that I would be stuck there, under a contractual obligation, for a seemingly long period of time with no way out if it ended up being awful.

And now, I write this blog post as I sit at an extremely overpriced DC coffee shop (why did I just pay $10.48 for an iced latte … ) with some of my best friends, trying to live in the moment with them while the end date of the Victory program looms ahead. Anxious instead about whether I will stay close with the people I have grown to love, whether I will be able to return to DC after I graduate college, and most all anxious about where in the world I’m supposed to go from here after having the most incredible experience of my life.

I feel extremely fortunate that I had the experience I did, when I know not everyone on the Hill was so lucky. I was privileged enough to be in an office where from day 1 I felt welcomed and at home. Everyone in my office has become someone I call a friend. Within Victory, never did I think my roommate from Kentucky (shoutout to Bridget) would become my best friend. Being on the Hill forced me out of the social bubble of Greek life. I have been in Syracuse for the past 3 years and showed me there is so much more to life than that. I felt fulfilled in my work – I know this isn’t the case in every D.C. office, so I was grateful for that – in the way that the staff trusted me with assignments they may not have with the other interns, and assignments that actually had weight on the workings of the office. Who knew that I would find my place through memo and remark writing?

But the question is, now what? I’m walking away from the Hill knowing exactly what I want to do, and that is return as fast as possible to become a Staff Assistant and hopefully work my way up the ladder to Press Secretary. The anxiety comes from the fact that unlike other people on the Hill or in the program, I still am an undergraduate student and have to complete my college degree. After this I go to France abroad, then back to Syracuse to graduate. I can’t seamlessly transition into life on the Hill like others might be able to, and I fear that the connections I’ve made through networking and otherwise might not last through the year. Did I make a mark on my office, and leave an impression on people here? I don’t know the answer to that, but at least I can walk away knowing I made an effort. I’m not sure what my path back to the Hill will be, but I do know that I had no idea what I wanted to do before this, and now I have a clear direction. And that has to be worth something.