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Week 2: The Official Start of Hilltern Season

06.01.2024 Manifestation Works

To be an intern in Washington, D.C., takes effort and lots of planning. It means having a goal and seeing it through. Perla and I were bit by the D.C. bug after our last trip together with our CAMP program. We were determined we would make it back, so we spent our freshman year at MSU networking, excelling academically, and finding programs that would make this dream come true. And despite numerous challenges, we succeeded. I came through

HEP/CAMP, and she came through HACU, two different programs that, without their knowledge, made two freshmen insanely happy.  On Sunday, after 5 weeks of not seeing each other, we met up in Chinatown to celebrate our accomplishments. We ate Qdoba, a MSU tradition, and caught up after our respective crazy weeks of orientation. Both of us together means exploring and ending up in random places. So in this fashion, we spent three hours inside the National Portrait Museum, laughing, interpreting, and questioning the art exhibits and what they represented.  We walked around the neighborhoods and just had an overall fun day. 


 

06.02.2024 Mock Hearings, It's Getting Real

Monday marked the start of our CHCI program, which included 10 hours of packed workshops, presentations, and advice to get us prepared for life on the Hill. Before we arrived, Esme, Bryan, Joan, and I went to an Ethiopian coffee shop that smelled like a yerberia and got ourselves coffee to fuel us for the long day ahead.  We began by getting a crash course on how the government works and our role in it. While this occurred in our heads, the mock hearing loomed over us. When we went on break, we all got together with our groups and began to finalize our testimonies and get into the mindset of who we were roleplaying as, in my case, the Republican Sport gun Manufacturing Association. This activity took a lot of work, from researching, setting up data, lobbying with congressmen (in their dorms on the weekend), and justifying the ideology of the association so that we did our part correctly. It truly took a lot of effort.  Personally, I feel that Carlos and I did a great representing our association. We answered all the questions, and even though we were being attacked by the Democrats, our data really helped keep our narrative on track. By the time programming ended, we all went home to prep for our first day in our offices.  


 

06.03-06.2024 First Days in the Office 

I had been waiting to be in my congressional office for so long. I know that there are hundreds of interns on the Hill during the semester, but I never thought I would be one of them. Walking in that on Tuesday was nerve-wracking, but when I entered, I was greeted by Yvonee, who was a CHCI alum and had previously been in my steps. It helped me calm my nerves. I got a tour by one of the staff, and I realized that the office felt really homey. It was decorated with care and character, with so many pictures on the walls, figurines, and gorgeous woodwork. Everyone I met these first few days was very nice and welcoming. It felt like I could be myself in this space, have room to ask questions, and be okay with not knowing everything. The other two interns in the office, Matias and Maria, were really nice, and we quickly got along. On my first day, we went to a briefing on carbon capture; it was long but interesting, plus we got a free lunch. In the next few days, we learned how to use answering phones and began to do reports. It truly felt official when I received my I.D. and had access to the Hill in its entirety. On Thursday, I met up with Perla, and we once again ended up in Chinatown, where we ate Chick-fil-A and looked around at the architecture.  By accident, we ended up at a random event inside the MLK library, where we went through all the floors and explored the influence of protesting and advocacy against efforts pushed to the red line.  These past few days have been a blur. I'm slowly getting used to life on the Hill and the expectations that come with it. For the most part, after work, I usually cook and rest after the long days. 


 

06.07.2024 Learning the Work from Home Lifestyle

Friday was my first work from home day. I got to wake up later and not have to worry about being in business professional clothing. My office was my couch, and I got to work on

drafting constituent letters while listening to music and having my apartment windows open, enjoying the gorgeous weather. For lunch, Esmeralda, who also worked from home, and I went to eat at the Western Market, a building with 10 different restaurants and many  cuisines. We chose to eat some incredible pizza; we’re obsessed with it. After that, we went back to our apartment to finish the work day. In the afternoon, we headed to Target to buy some necessities, and on our way back, we decided we would meet up with the rest of the crew to eat at McDonald's. Our trip to McDonald's was peaceful, a catch up after our official first week as interns. We ended the night after spending too much time talking at McDonald's and not planning our activities for Saturday. 


 

06.08.2024 Sunny Adventures

Today was an eventful and packed day—probably the busiest day of this week. It started on a not-so-great note. I left the butter in the pan for too long, and the fire alarm went off. I quickly opened the windows, and it shut off. However, I was surprised when I heard a knock at my door, and it was from a campus policeman. It turns out it is a routine procedure to come and check that everything is alright; it was, and the policeman said my food smelled really good! I’m going to take that as a win. Soon after, Esmeralda and I decided we wanted to explore, so we did just that. Since I arrived, I've been wanting to visit Georgetown. We’d also heard about the “famous Georgetown cupcakes,” and we really wanted to try them out.  So we hopped on the metro, which goes under the Potomac River; our ears popped due to the elevation change, and one free bus ride later we made it to Georgetown.  I fell in love with the city since my previous visit. It is a quaint, charming town with cobblestone roads, old north eastern architecture, and is lined with greenery and flowers. We headed to the cupcake shop, and I would like to report that they were really good. My favorite was the cookies and cream cupcake, sweet but light and creamy. The coffee was also two dollars, which is unheard of in D.C. After walking around the town, getting sunburned, and enjoying the weather by the Potomac River, we decided to head to the Botanical Gardens. The gardens were gorgeous, and it was incredible to see so many climates contained in one building and thriving even with so much human interaction. My least favorite exhibit was the tropics, at least the second level of it, due to the suffocating feeling we were welcomed into as we stepped out of the elevator (we lasted five seconds before we went right back down). 


 

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