Taking Risks – Lena Dreves

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

There is always those few days of adjustment for any new job or internship that is started. Going into this summer’s internship, I was expecting this adjustment and the challenges that came with it. I came to Washington D.C. for the first time aware of my naivety, yet also aware of the kind of opportunity this was.

This internship, and the opportunity to be a Victory Congressional Intern, is a dream come true. Every morning I walk into Representative Crowley’s office I feel as though nothing could dampen my spirits. So far this summer, nothing really has. I love my work of answering phone calls, scanning documents, running errands, or writing memos. The peers around me, whether they are VCI interns or the interns in my office have been incredibly supportive and inspirational for me. Sometimes when the day gets long I remind myself how many students never had this kind of opportunity; this makes me work harder on the small things.

My biggest take-away from the past few weeks, is my realization of some of the inside workings of Capitol Hill, and how they match up or rather don’t match up with my original perception of them. Since I read a lot, books have become a reliable source of information for me. I have read about legislation and how bills are passed for the past 4 years. Still, I did not fully understand how it all works in the everyday grind. Of course, I still do not understand it all, but now I have an idea of how the smallest responsibilities are the building blocks for the large ones, and how the largest of bills are only possible with the dedicated support of thousands of staffers and members working together to make it happen.

In my daily schedule at the office, I usually start off by checking the office for anything to be tidied up, checking my email, and updating my work calendar with briefings. Recently, I have started a new habit in the morning: making a schedule and list of objectives for the day. This helps me to prioritize, execute and finish each task well and work more efficiently. I have seen personal improvement when I use this method. I have learned to be my own competitor. I do my best to compete with the person I was the day before, rather than with the person next to me. This mindset has always helped me stay positive and enjoy the success of my peers!

Although this blog post so far does tell the truth, there are also certain challenges I face each day. These, more often than not, are related to my personal life yet affect my professional work sometimes. The solution in facing these challenges are not always clear to me. One thing I have learned is that the first step in overcoming personal challenges is acknowledgement of them, and the willingness to take the next step to defeat them.