Monday, September 05, 2005

A Day In the Life of an Intern

The first day of my internship was both exciting and nerve-wracking. I have to admit that although I can do speeches in front of hundreds of people or take calls from scores of angry customers at work, the thought of meeting important people like senators and diplomats was enough to make me want to throw up. Surprising, huh? I can see Janna exclaiming right now, "JoAnna was nervous!?!?!" Yea, yea I was. You try it.

The pure nervousness was increased by the fact that I had neglected to scope out my office building beforehand, and didn't know how long it would take to get from AU to Union Station. The answer to the latter question is....A really, really long time. I can get a solid chapter of constitutional law read or a nice nap in the time it takes me to get downtown.

The three Senate buildings are all unique, each with its own "personality." The Hart building is large, open, and airy. The floor to ceiling windows and 7 story tall modern art sculpture make you think you are in a corporate bank headquarters. Barack Obama's (one of my favorite people) office is in this building. Dirksen Senate building is Hart's older and more modestly dressed sister. It reminds me of an urban county courthouse: I am always waiting for someone to tell me to pay a parking ticket or join a jury or something. Russell Building is what you would picture the building of our country's highest legislative body to look like. Grand marble stair cases, echoing hallways and state flags outside the heavy, wood-paneled office doors. I love click-clacking down the halls of Russell in my high heels, looking for the "prettiest" senate office.

The first day was all about the mail system. One of my jobs will be to read, categorize and respond to every single piece of mail that comes into the office. It is a daunting job that takes up most of all the interns' time. We use a computer program that generates form letters and inserts people's addresses for us.

Later this week, I will learn how to use the phone system and will hopefully get my security badge (right now I am walking around semi-illegally). Wish me luck!