As I complete my internship in the U.S. House of Representatives, I am especially grateful for this experience and everyone who helped to get me here. During the past 3 months, I maintained constituent correspondence, helped Legislative Assistants with projects, and led tours of the U.S. Capitol complex. All of these experiences have culminated in my final policy proposal. During the final week of my internship, I drafted and proposed an environmental policy to the Representative. In order to do this, I had to contemplate the issue from all sides and understand how to make the policy “work” for the largest number of people. Then, I met with constituent groups and federal agencies to discuss my ideas. The work was completed with a bill proposal memo and presentation. I enjoyed this exercise, and it helped me to understand the inner workings of federal legislation.
My biggest takeaway from this project and internship was learning how to view a problem from every side. It is simple to assume the way I view certain issues is the same as everyone else, but this could not be farther from the truth. Discussing matters with constituents and outside organizations taught me to listen to what others are saying before assuming their views are too different from mine. The only way we can make positive change is by genuinely listening to one another. I did just this in my policy proposal and I hope to continue to develop this skill in the future.
As I move forward in the environmental and political fields, I understand that I will meet people with very similar views, However, I will also work with people who have contrasting opinions from my own. I can take the lessons in nonpartisanship and apply them to the real world. I can better listen to those around me and work to understand why they feel the way they do about certain issues. These active listening, communication, and interpersonal skills will be essential in future places of employment, and I hope to continue developing them as well.