By: Leann Bentley
I remember looking out the oval window down over the city that would become my home for the next four months. I felt every emotion from excitement to pure fear and everything in-between. In due time, I would be walking those marble halls witnessing moments that would be written about in history textbooks years from now. I was embarking on a journey that would change how I view, feel and perceive the world.
Internships: more valuable than just job experience.
You Future is in Your Hands, Explore Your Options
Temporary positions are more important than you’d think when you are a college student. Potential employers weed out students by the experience they had while in school and internships are the perfect way to prove that you were passionate in your field.
Internships provide a lot more than just gaining work experience, you also turn into a more versatile person in the end.
Independence, realization and personal growth are a few significant things you will gain when taking on an internship. What better time to help yourself grow than while you are in college?
I started my journey to gaining an internship after living vicariously through my friends’ temporary positions. I watched them evolve not only academically, but also socially and I decided it was my turn. I looked everywhere for an opportunity that allowed me to leave Wyoming.
That is when I applied for an internship far away from home, in Washington, D.C. with a Wyoming Senator. Senator Barrasso to be exact.
Admittedly, it is a little frightening to apply for something that would move you across the country alone during the most significant election of all time, but I wrote my letters, perfected my resume and waited for an answer.
Next thing you know, I was boarding the plane to move out east. It was time.
Washington, D.C. is unbelievable. You never can fully grasp the history that is behind this concrete jungle. Every step you take, every building you set your eyes upon holds historical significance that this country is based on.
Broaden Your Outlook on the World
Working in the United States Capitol building was something my freshman self-had never thought she would do, but here I was, my junior year of college, wearing my best dress walking side by side with the Senator into a position that would change my outlook of the world in only 4 short months.
Some of the highlights included watching Vice President Biden walk two feet away from me passionately speaking to the press, to witnessing the fervent Senator Elizabeth Warren give a speech, to witnessing Senator Barrasso speak to Wolf Blitzer at CNN, a studio I have dreamed about seeing for years, to then running the halls of the White House during President Obama’s last days; this was all something of a dream for a little Wyoming girl.
You don’t really know what you don’t know until you work in the field. Yes, you learn a lot in the classroom but you absorb considerably more when you are thrown into actual, real work.
I had never been interested in politics; I simply pursued this internship to become a more holistic student and experience a culture that I knew nothing about. Now, I am involved and constantly wanting to become more informed; it is an indescribable feeling wanting to continually learn more about something new.
I met amazing people and made memories with some of the most important and influential people in the country.
I was front and center for the most controversial election of all time. My roommate and I protested in
downtown D.C., I sat in on congressional hearings, met the United States Ambassador to the UN, shook hands with the top members of congress, talked about Beyoncé with Bernie Sanders and ate ice cream with Senator Barrasso while discussing my dreams - it was incredible.
Benefits of an Internship are Limitless
This was one internship in a field of thousands. These experiences can become reality by simply asking your advisor or looking online. The University of Wyoming has abundant resources when it comes to leaving campus, and it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. A destination and the willingness to work towards it will send you on your way.
I truly believe it is important to pursue something that scares you. If I learned anything in D.C. it was you have to continue to do everything you can do in make yourself better and never shy away from what you believe in.
There is nothing you cannot achieve and internships are the first step in the path to your remarkable success. They challenge you, break you, inspire you, but always shape you into a stronger more hardworking individual.
So go out and try something new, be scared and vulnerable- you never know the experiences that will turn into your next passion.
Go for gold, my friends, you never know the places you will find it.