I decided that I was going to move to Washington D.C. for at least one semester in college to network. I was determined and thought the experience would assure myself a job for when I graduated from my small, private Liberal Arts University. I assumed moving to D.C. and interning was going to give me the "golden ticket" to a bright and promising political career.
I was twenty years old, a sophomore in college, and probably a little too cocky for my own good. I applied for a few internship programs that I found online. One afternoon I came across one through the Fund For American Studies. I read their headline "Live. Learn. Intern In DC for a Semester".
I applied immediately without any thought. How could I turn this opportunity down: Spend a semester in Washington, D.C. and gain the experience and insight you need to succeed. Serve as an intern in the nation's capital in the fall or spring while taking classes at Georgetown University. Designed for undergraduate students interested in U.S. politics and American government, Capital Semester can serve as a great way to kick-off your career in politics.
Three weeks after applying, I was notified via mail and email that I was part of a select group of twenty students who would be moving into the furnished apartment in our Nation's capital for the spring 2005 semester. Who knew that the other twenty students would be some of the brightest minds I've ever met and representing some of the top schools in the US: Brown, Boston College, University of Texas, and William & Mary to name a few.
The only downfall to the whole process was that we had to decide where we wanted to intern. The program would set up our interviews, and all we had to do was seal the deal. I was about to backpack in Europe with a friend from high school two weeks before my big move to DC. I needed to find an internship, have my interview over the phone, and pack for both DC and Europe! With that said, finding my internship was the least of my concerns (unfortunately) At the end of the day, I decided to take a job with the Association of Manufacturer's- the nation's oldest and largest broad-based industrial trade association. I had a feeling it wasn't going to be the right fit for me, but was sucked in during my phone interview.
The point I'm trying to get at is that this semester in D.C. was suppose to open big doors for me. Without saying too much, I guess I didn't take my semester there as seriously as I should have. While I could say that a big part of it was me being twenty and that being my first internship, I'll save the excuses for another rainy day.
I still get emails and updates from the Fund For American Studies. When I first graduated college, I sent them a small donation as I genuinely enjoyed my time in D.C, at Georgetown, and in my internship.
Today I was reading the most recent article from TFAS. It was about a 2007 University of Oklahoma graduate who participated in one of the programs through TFAS in 2006. Her internship experience at the National Association of Chained Drug Stores led to a real job after graduation as an advance representative for former Secretary Michael Chertoff at the Department of Homeland Security. After that, she interned in the former First Lady Laura Bush's office. This experience gave her the opportunity to go on to actually work for George Bush.
I'm not jealous of this girl, but it does make me wish that I could go back and do things again. I know it's not healthy to live with regret, but knowing what I know now, I'd be more concerned with my internship and my classes and less concerned with who was going to happy hour after work.
Sigh, such is life.