Monday, September 21, 2009

Learning the Lay of the Land

August 27, 2009-- The first and youngest to start. At a time when I am the one starting to feel the oldest, I am in a sea of people older, once again. Making the transition from school to office setting at first sent a shock to my system, although I had been forewarned. During the interview process I had reminded myself that accepting a position like this would mean not being able to roll out of bed and off to class. I was to become a commuter-- wearing business attire, SmartTrip card in one hand and New York Times in the other. It was different, but I was excited to start "work" and be able to say things like "Oh, I can't...I have to go to work" or "At work today...". It became a game, and I loved it and I realized that this internship wasn't me giving up anything at all. After several days, I knew that I loved this sort of work. I quickly became acclimated to the work and research I was doing and the people I was working with and I have been having a great time.

*A note on my job--I am the intern to the NATO reform project the NGO is working on. We are working to compose a team of experts to travel to Europe with the project heads to convince European governments to provide more military support in Afghanistan. The NGO was awarded a grant to fund this project.

This week was a completely different experience. Our Congressional Correspondent invited me to attend the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Afghanistan and I was ecstatic! I had never attended any sort of Congressional Hearing before and I turned into a giddy school girl, planning my outfit and my route to the Hill. It was an amazing day. After taking notes for 2 1/2 hours at the hearing, we left the Hill and I was asked to write a memo on the hearing to be sent out to the entire staff, and my boss loved it and congradulated me several times on a job well done.
After being asked to attend this I completely disregarded the stereotype of the intern-- at my small NGO, interns were not people who made photocopies or continuously ran errands. We did important research, wrote important notes, attended meetings, held meaningful conversations and were people who our bosses really wouldn't be able to get much done with without our help, and the best part was, none of my bosses took me for granted. Each one appreciated everything I contributed, whether it was a helpful reminder, a written memo, or some help with research. They were truly appreciative of the work I was doing, and this has already made my experience as an intern extremely rewarding.

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