I have been home from DC for about a week and I have had plenty of down time reflect on this summer. It has been a while since my last blog post and I have a lot of things to share. So in the spirit of three blogs in one, I want to talk about all of the celebrations surrounding the ADA 20th Anniversary, my time in the office towards the end of the summer, and some reflections on what I learned and how this summer has effected my career aspirations.
The highlights from the anniversary week will perhaps be similar to the experiences of the other interns. I enjoyed the ADA party at the Hyatt the week before the anniversary. I spent the majority of the party walking around with my boss who was nice enough to introduce me to some tall trees in the disability community. I did not stay late for the band and dancing that others appeared to be enjoying, but from others who did stay, I heard great things.
I was then fortunate enough to make my second trip to the White House this summer for the actual Presidential celebration of the ADA. As many would agree, it was terribly hot out on the South Lawn. But none the less, I was extremely grateful to among many of the original champions of the ADA and to also see the President give a speech.
But the really important thing I wanted to share was how I wrote a statement for my Congressman regarding the ADA. On the day of the anniversary, my boss gave a speech on the House floor that I wrote for him. It was pretty neat seeing a Congressman read words that you put together on the House floor. The next day I grabbed a Congressional Record from the mail and had my Congressman autograph the page that had the statement.
And now I want to share some advice with future AAPD interns who might come across my blog. First off and foremost, get the metro rail discount. I for one, did not get it and I paid the price - literally. A good part of your pay check will go towards the Metro fares that it takes to get to work and also around the city on the free time. It was annoying how expensive it was so for next year, get the pass.
I also want to stress to future interns to really put yourself out there. Get out into the city and do your best to make friends with people in your office and also people in and around AAPD. Depending upon how your office atmosphere is, go ahead and make friends with the people in the office. If you are invited, play on the office softball team or go to a happy hour. For myself, the friendships that I made with the people in the office had to be on the biggest factors in whether or not I had a good office experience. Also, get to know the people at AAPD. Try to arrange lunches because the people at AAPD are totally supportive, invested and can be great resources for maximizing your internship experience and or developing your network.
As for myself, this past summer has so profoundly impacted me that I want to come back to DC next summer to do one more internship before I graduate and even potentially move out to DC to work and live after college. To anyone who is interested in working in government or coming out to DC, do know, that the AAPD internship is a door opening opportunity that will help make that dream come true.