It's very early on a Monday morning and the White House is wide awake. I enter my office and am met with the bustling of staffers already inside: fingers furiously typing on computer keyboards, Blackberry lights flashing, and the soft humming of TV screens playing four major news networks at once. Emails have already piled up; the phones are already ringing. For a White House intern such as myself, this lifestyle was, at first, foreign. How could a person possibly be alert enough to do work at this hour of the day? I was used to the lazy days of college: rolling out of bed at 10, eating lunch with friends whenever I pleased, shooting hoops at the recreation building until closing. The White House was none of that. It was fast-paced, challenging, rigorous and, most important, one of the best summers I've ever had.
My internship ran from May through August, 2011. I worked at the Office of Communications. The office helps craft the message that the President delivers to the country, and covers areas such as speech writing, regional press, new media, and message and event planning. The internship program also allowed me to connect with other young professionals through weekly events and service projects. I became close to interns in my own office and also met young men and women working in all areas of the White House: the First Lady's Office, the Domestic Policy Council, the Office of Scheduling and Advance and many others.
The overall experience was a humbling one. It was an honor to be able to work alongside members of the Administration and walk the grounds of the most famous address in the United States. To be surrounded by the leaders of today and interact with the leaders of tomorrow gave me hope that change can truly come to America, that a group of thoughtful, committed people can work towards a brighter future.
Consider giving back to our nation by applying for the White House Internship Program or other programs of public service. The Michigan in Washington Program can lead you in the right direction, be helpful with internship searches, and provide connections with U of M alumni and other professionals in DC. And remember, wherever you are: Go Blue!