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.
It might be a little unexpected that I have kept up the sport theme throughout my blog posts, but Washington, D.C. is pretty sporty if you think about it. Everyone plays for their own color-coded teams, there is a (supreme) court, and you always have to wear comfortable shoes. Now, I am nowhere near the Michael Jordan of Capitol Hill, but I have realized that I am starting to pick up on the playbook.
I was in a coffee meeting with someone from my office and asking them what I would need to do to get my first job on Capitol Hill after graduation and they said that I have already checked one of the big boxes – having Capitol Hill experience. That is something I can say now. I, Mia Seifers, have Capitol Hill experience. In the world of politics where your experience in the field is not only your currency but also arguably more important than any degree, metric, or statistic – I can say I have experience. And what a phenomenal experience it has been.
I have gone to press conferences to take pictures of the Senator that later got posted on the social media, met the new Secretary of Labor, attended briefings on important issues to report back to the team, taken constituent phone calls about a whole host of issues and concerns, and spent a lot of time asking a lot of questions (mostly what niche terminology came up that day or how to get to the House side… again).
As I wrap up my time in Washington, D.C., one of the biggest things I learned is that being authentically yourself in professional situations is incredibly important because it better highlights the best parts of you. Just the other day, my intern coordinator mentioned how she admires my initiative, the way I am comfortable to advocate for myself, and the positive energy I bring into the office every day. I would not have gotten to have that moment with her if I followed the advice of the people who told me I would have to be quieter, less talkative, and less energetic to fit into the professional environment (read ‘boring mold’) of working in the government. But like Dennis Rodman with his dyed hair and swag outfits, I decided that it was better to be myself than to miss out on making authentic connections with my supervisors and peers. Since I was able to be my usual bubbly, energetic, and enthusiastic (sometimes a little loud) self, I have formed better relationships with every single person I have come in contact with – from the other interns I work with day in and day out to the random person who I befriended in the Dirksen cafeteria my first week here. And that goes with being able to be out and proud LGBTQ+ in a professional setting as well. Wearing my gold Victory lapel pin every day has led to several happy compliments and quick conversations about being queer on Capitol Hill or questions about whether I am a Victory intern – always a proud yes.
For those familiar with the story of the Chicago Bulls and the 2020 documentary about the team (peep the title of the blog post), I feel as if I am in the beginning of my first three-peat. Therefore, there will be another three-peat. That is all to say, this is not my ‘last dance’ in our nation’s capitol. I will be back with my Hoosier spirit and undying enthusiasm before I know it. And I will continue wearing that gold Victory lapel pin so I can be a role model for future generations of young queer leaders that want to do this work someday too.
All in all, this experience has been a slam dunk.