OutPower

The Age-Old Question: What’s Next?- Sammy Raucher

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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The past ten weeks of the Victory Congressional Internship (VCI) have been filled with many great memories. From a day of programming focused on LGBTQ+ history to volunteering at a nonprofit organization’s annual brunch gala, I have learned so much and grown even more connected to the LGBTQ+ community. 

One of my favorite Friday activities took place last week, when we interns headed out for half the day to Joe Fuld’s house. He and Courtney Snowden, both political consultants, facilitate the LGBTQ Victory Institute’s Candidate & Campaign Trainings. Sitting in Joe’s backyard, cookies in hand, we spent an hour discussing careers, life, and politics. We talked about everything from how to be a good campaign manager to what political consulting is really like and how the political climate has changed within the last 20 to 30 years. What I loved most about our conversation, though, was how unfiltered and honest Joe and Courtney were with the perspectives and advice they shared. As soon as we started talking, it felt like we had known each other for much longer than just a few minutes and that Joe and Courtney had our backs.

Our conversation with Joe and Courtney felt a lot like many of the other conversations I have had with professionals throughout my time in Washington, D.C. – open, honest, and supportive. Through these conversations, I have learned about potential careers that I did not even know existed. For example, I had heard of consulting in the business/economics sense, but I did not know that political consulting existed, let alone political consulting for nonprofit organizations and social movement groups. Further, I had never considered doing LGBTQ+ rights work on an international level because I did not know what careers existed in that sphere. Now I know that there are people at the State Department who work with activist organizations around the world to help advance LGBTQ+ equality. One of the most exciting parts of being in Washington, D.C. has been that not only have I learned about these jobs, but that I have been able to meet with people doing these jobs. 

As the end of my semester in Washington, D.C. approaches, the question I am often asked is: what are you going to do next? One of the best pieces of advice I have gotten during my time here is that I do not need to know exactly what is next for me; instead, what is more important is that I know what my values are and what I hope to accomplish. While I do not know exactly what I want to do, VCI has made me even more excited for my future in LGBTQ+ rights work, whether that is in the policy realm, legal realm, or some combination of both. Most importantly, VCI has enabled me to build a community of friends and mentors in Washington, D.C. that has my back. 

I will miss our Friday VCI sessions greatly, but I know that I will stay friends with my fellow VCI interns long past our graduation. And while I am coming out of VCI without certainty about what is next for me, I know I have the support and passion to get wherever I want to go.