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Editorial: Inside a Capitol Internship

“I’m going to work at the state Capitol,” I said to my friends at a lunch table in The Branch as a smile curved on my lips. After complaining about only being enrolled in twelve hours of classes, not enough to keep my busy mind engaged, I opened an email from Brian Simmons with an opportunity. 

Malia Bennett, the Director of the Senate Communication Division, was searching for interns. Interns would be involved in press conferences and help the team write and research for press releases. They were looking for a writer. 

Everything about the internship screamed my name. The schedule fit into perfect slots on my calendar. The only preference I did not fulfill was my class level, but I decided a preference was not a requirement. So I, a sophomore, polished my resume and turned in my application with confidence and excitement. 

Within 48 hours I had an interview. Although it was unlike any interview I had done before, I had total peace. Stepping off the elevator onto the third floor of the Capitol building made me feel this was the place I needed to be. By the end of the interview, Malia was telling me where the fridge was so I could bring a packed lunch. Though she had not officially hired me, I knew the job was mine. 

A week later Malia emailed to confirm my position. Winter break flew by and waking up on Jan. 9 felt unreal. I put on a blazer and nice slacks, all ready for the first day. On my commute, I encountered Monday morning traffic and prayed it would not make me late. 

It felt official once I parked in my designated spot in the Senate staff lot. I entered the building and went through security. The Capitol was bustling with visitors due to the Governor’s inauguration. The most stressful part of the day was waiting on the elevator; they are notoriously slow. 

I made it to my desk five minutes early, ready to learn my new job. My first task was to assist in gathering any local news stories legislators might need to know about. Each morning, an email containing all relevant news stories is sent out so legislators are prepared for any questions they may face. 

I was introduced to writing press releases by practicing on the biographies of high school interns who would be joining me later in the session. Eventually, I will get to write press releases about legislative matters. 

Although I have only worked my first day, I know this internship will affect the trajectory of my entire career. The connections I make, skills I learn and mentorship given to me will be invaluable. This opportunity was presented to me because I attend Oklahoma Christian University. The Senate Communication Department wanted quality people and they knew where to look. 

Having this job will increase my knowledge of government functions on a practical level, which will help my future writing be more accurate. I will get to see in a direct way how legislators affect my life as an Oklahoman. Hands-on experience in your career field during your time in college is infidelity beneficial in shaping who you  want to become. For this reason, I am grateful to Oklahoma Christian for creating a learning environment which equips students to participate in opportunities like this.     

The steps you take now will aid your future. Detering from a personal level, you can take steps to impact your community, city and even your country. Understanding the world around you is an essential part of life. Getting involved in an internship, a rally or a club can help you see life from a different perspective. 

Your voice matters and you have the choice to use it. Be bold, take the next step. Interact with something new and find your place in the world outside of university.

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