DC PhotoCU in D.C. Experience Report

The experience of being able to work, learn, and live in Washington D.C. has been one of unparalleled opportunity. As our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. provides a thrillingly unique yet challenging environment for young professionals and scholars such as myself to engage in. My 2022 experience was one that will have ripples throughout the rest of my professional and personal life, and I am confident I will reflect upon this journey as one of consequence.

Interning for Representative Ed Perlmutter of Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, I was able to engage with Congressional politics at a level previously inaccessible to me. Despite being both formally and informally involved in political research and knowledge my entre life, there is no substitution for physically being in the imposing and shining Capitol Hill, experiencing the organized chaos that is Congressional politics. There are a variety of misconceptions surrounding public service at the political level and having firsthand knowledge of Congressional life was shocking in bow it dispelled a variety of these misconceptions. While there certainly are aspects that may be seen as glamorous and attention seeking, at least Representative Perlmutter and hence my experience strayed far away from the flashy side of politics, and I was encouraged to delve deeper into the constituent service side of politics, where the goal is to actually help those in the district as well as the national electorate at large. Much of Congressional work is much life standard office work, except the stakes are significantly higher and the issues being dealt with impact the lives of millions. It was often important for me to remind myself on a difficult phone call or when tackling a particularly thorny problem that my work has helping to facilitate necessary change that had the potential to positively impact thousands of lives. This helped to ground my emotions at the time and focus on the task at hand, which helped to improve my overall work ethic. The skills in interpersonal communication, policy knowledge and overall confidence in political work.

Aside from the professional aspects, living and learning in D.C. was quite the experience. The ability to learn foreign policy from ana expert in the field who has been engaged in the profession their entire professional lives was transformative. The depth of knowledge is unlike most pf my academic career so far, and despite the knowledge of professors at CU, there is a difference of being in D.C. with professors who are actively in the working field and have held high level government jobs before. There is a sense of authenticity that is hard to acquire elsewhere. Living in D.C. is another beast. Despite being vastly different from Colorado, the culture and environment was very positive, and the culture and history the surrounded me on a daily basis was inspiring. The youth and vigor that is injected into the city is refreshing and helped to reenergize me after difficult times and I was grateful to have been able to experience it.