So, here is the final blog post. It feels very weird to say that, because I feel like I’m only just now starting to get a real feel for working at my internship and living in Washington. It’s been up and down over the past two and a half months, but it has most certainly been a fantastic experience. To be honest, I feel like I should devote my last blog to saying what I “learned” from my internship experience. It might be the stereotypical thing to do, but in this case, I actually feel like that’s something that I want to do.
Well, I definitely gained a lot of knowledge and experience from my time with my internship. I wanted to get a look at and a feel for how the realm of public policy works, and I definitely did. Policy work involves a lot of time, patience, and research. I will say that I did not spend as much time on the research aspect as I would have liked, but I definitely gained some experience with policy research. Most of what I did related to the networking capabilities of my organization. This is certainly important work that has to be done, but it would not have been my first choice. It was also nice to get some experience with an organization that is under a certain amount of public scrutiny. My internship organization is currently facing some negative publicity, and we’ve had to change some of our practices as a result (ex. no longer leaving the front door open at work). That has definitely been an interesting aspect of working there.
However, I think that the most valuable thing for me from this internship is just the practical and general work experience that I have gotten. This is the first time that I have worked in a professional office setting before, and I would consider it likely for me to have some future experience in an office setting, no matter what line of work I pursue. But this internship has given me some experience in dealing with difficult supervisors. I’ve had a somewhat turbulent relationship with my supervisor, but despite that, it has provided me with invaluable experience regarding my future supervisors. It’s also been valuable to work for a company that has a more public face. I spoke earlier about the negative publicity from which our organization is currently suffering, but this change in policy has given me experience with how an organization may deal with negative PR. If I work for some political organization or figure in the future, then it is likely that my employer will have to deal with the same issues. Now I will have some background experience in dealing with issues like this, and it will be helpful in my future jobs.
Honestly, the most valuable thing I’ve gotten at my internship has been the practical experience. Working a 9 to 5 job, dealing with a supervisor, working against deadlines. I’ve had some experiences with all of these things in the past, but my work has given me new insight into all of this and more. It has helped me to gain a clearer picture of what work in the policy realm looks like. Whether or not I eventually work for some organization or some sector of public policy, I really do not know. But I now have much greater insight into the kind of work that I might do, and while I may not be any closer to an answer now than I was three months ago, I certainly have a lot more information. And that is never a bad thing.