Washington, D.C. is the most powerful city in the world. For two hundred years it has been a destination for those who want to make a difference in the world. The history you read about in textbooks, the debates you watch on the news – it all happens here.
I am spending fall semester of my sophomore year in the nation’s capital, where I am an intern on Capitol Hill for Senator Risch. When I begin my day, I never know what is in store for me. One day I’ll be next to the boss as he’s being interviewed on MSNBC. Another day, I’ll be sitting in on a Foreign Relations Committee nomination hearing of Caroline Kennedy (JFK’s daughter) to be ambassador to Japan.
In the nearly three weeks I have been living in D.C., my expectations have been greatly surpassed. I have party-hopped almost everyday after work between the Hill, the Library of Congress and neighboring rooftop penthouses, mingling with Congressmen and lobbyists at each stop. Because of the food provided at these receptions I rarely have to pay for dinner.
Over the course of a single day, I was able to meet a Kennedy (RFK’s grandson) and get a photo with Senator John McCain. I just so happened to be wearing my Sigma Chi tie during these unexpected encounters.
I live in a townhouse of 11 people two blocks from the capitol. I am blessed to be surrounded by other ambitious college students who have the same passion for politics as I do. My housemates are from every part of the country (including someone from Switzerland) and their classes range from junior to college graduate. Among their places of employment are the White House, Supreme Court, Senate, House of Representatives, CNN, and a nongovernment organization, or NGO.
In the upper house of Congress, I have yet to find another person of sophomore standing. There are three other interns in the office, and they are all seniors. In Senator Crapo’s office, the other senator representing Idaho, every intern has already graduated. Needless to say, the education I received in just one year in C of I’s Political Economy department allowed me to be considered among those who have completed three to four years of similar studies at other Idaho colleges.
Every few weeks I will be posting a blog with an update on my experience in Washington, D.C.
Gabe Osterhout is a sophomore Political Economy major from Boise, Idaho.