This week truly highlights the wonderful world of politics that I am privy to as a lowly red-badge-holder (Read: INTERN!). I originally entered the office naming ADA and Education as my policy interests, but now my interests in certain areas of policy have broadened. I'm now more interested in Foreign Affairs, Health Care, and Environment. Just a natural progress. I'm now dreaming of possibly becoming a legislative aide in the future. The best part of interning in a Congressional office is that you really get to understand and SEE for yourself how things work from behind the scenes.
I've long been a fierce proponent of putting yourself out there, being visible through civil work or volunteering. At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, August 2008, I worked in the “Boiler Room” where I and my classmates from Gallaudet University did various tasks and got to rub shoulders with the greats. I was even responsible for getting one section of the audience's signs out on time on the floor during Hillary Clinton's speech (let me tell you two things: photographers are animals and the crowd went WILD every few seconds!!). It was an amazing experience and I even got to witness history at Invesco, too. The point is that – if you don't volunteer, you never know what you're missing out.
I feel the same about my internship. I'm always asking, “how can I help you more?” to my supervisors and others, always hoping for a bit more of that doggy bone. I can't control the kind of tasks I get but I know that motivation and hard work gets you to places. Because Rep. Steny Hoyer is the Majority Leader, he has a Leadership office in the Capitol and I often go between the two offices in Longworth House Office Building (HOB) and the Capitol. Every time I walk to the Capitol, I always feel like it is a great privilege and honor to be here. I relish every moment of it.
I got to meet with Rep. Steny Hoyer yesterday as a part of intern meeting. There was a lot of us in the room with Rep. Hoyer and all of us had a picture with him. He had a long and busy day because of the Cap and Trade bill so we were all quite understanding and the meeting was sweet and brief. Rep. Hoyer asked all of us what was our name, where we were from, where we went to for school, and how we liked our intern experience. I was the last (because of where I was sitting) and when I signed to him my regards, he smiled warmly. In my words, I made sure to emphasize how meaningful this internship was to me, because he was a great supporter of disability rights so it is really thanks to him that I'm able to be standing here as an intern. An expression of pride and joy crossed his face and he turned to the rest of interns. He actually explained to them what ADA is all about and what “reasonable accommodation” is. Few minutes later, the meeting was over and Rep. Hoyer hurried back to the floor/hallways/meeting rooms.
This is why it is a blessing to be deaf. You always have a unique, visual, hands-on approach in life and it is very hard for people to overlook you. Being deaf sets me apart from other interns in a positive, unique way. When you make the best out of opportunities, sky is the limit!
Until next time, best of wishes to you!