Intern Blog | November 2012
Welcome to our Intern Blog!
Please note that the views of our interns do not represent the views of PLEN as an organization.
A day in the life of a D.C intern
My name is Judith Bannerman-Quist and I am an intern at the Public Leadership Education Network through the Lutheran College Washington semester program. I am a Political Science Major at Luther College located in Decorah, Iowa.
Living and working in D.C. has been a terrific experience despite my crazy schedule. My day usually starts at 7 am with the aggravating sound of my alarm. Then it is a scramble to leave my Virginia apartment to make it in time for the bus or the Metro coming into the city.
One thing I appreciate about my internship is the spontaneity – I can go from updating databases to designing flyers to drafting donation letters to doing outreach to colleges in a single day. I absolutely love the fact that my experience here is dynamic and far from routine or mundane. PLEN is a small team, which has also been beneficial for my professional development. I directly see how my work and the work of my colleagues contributes to PLEN.
My day doesn’t end at 5 pm when I leave the office – I have to rush home to grab a bite, change into comfortable clothes and head to class until 8:30 pm, where I’m learning about politics and policy at an academic level, which provides me with greater insight into the work that I’m doing at PLEN.
Living, working and studying in D.C. has been a life changing experience. I have become far more independent than I was when I first arrived here and learned some valuable skills that have allowed for personal growth.
What I’ve learned so far in Washington, D.C.:
- Always plan your time: Schedule time for everything – entertainment, homework, work, going to the gym, even going to the grocery store. Planning my schedule has allowed me to avoid being swamped with homework and allows me to create some space in my busy life to explore D.C.
- Cook your own meals: Buying breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a horrible idea. Everything in the city is generally expensive, so buying all three or even two meals daily can leave you financially crippled, especially if you are doing an unpaid internship.
- Track your money: I have found that no matter how much you try to cut costs, living in the city is expensive. In order to control my spending, I set a reasonable budget for myself that I monitor via an app on my phone.
- Take the bus: Depending on how far you live from the city, taking the bus, especially during rush hour, can save money.
- Don’t be afraid to ask anyone for help or for directions: I’ve found that people are surprisingly willing to give directions and help.
- Ask questions: We all know the feeling of starting a new job/internship and trying to create the best impression by not appearing confused. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification when you don’t understand what is required of you. It is impossible to do a great job if you don’t understand the instructions and the intention behind the project.