As for goals, I wasn’t able to accomplish the major ones, however, that is only due to the virus. Because of the virus, we are not able to work within the actual office in the state capital. It would have been there that I would have been able to meet a lot of cool people and made a lot of connections. That aside, I would still call his summer a success simply because of the fact that I spent my time working to help the constituent of this state. I would not really say that my goals changed.
This internship did not so much clarify but reassure my career choice. The constituent work is not as close to legal work as I would like but it’s still within government and we still do great work. Therefore, I figure if I enjoy this, then when I get a step closer to working in the field of my career, I will be even happier to be there. That said, during my time in this workplace I have discovered that I am adaptable. In the beginning, there was some trouble with getting my account set up. On top of that, when I did get my email, I found that I was not able to access the app that the rest of the team was working on. However, I stuck with it working through Gmail with my supervisor. There were also various processes that I had to learn in order to help constituents such as creating a case and often times drafting responses myself to send out in emails. I also learned that I need to work a little more on my communication skills. In that, my experience was sort of similar to the last half of the spring semester. Working online is just a bit more inconvenient than being in the environment and actively participating in your work.
If I had to give advice to someone who wanted an internship here I would highly recommend it. First off, everyone in the office is so nice. Rory was always there to help me when I needed despite everything through the virus. Jamal gave me great advice when I went to the office over winter break for some training. Secondly, it was a great experience in the sense that you learn so much about local government. Everyone pays so much attention to national politics but in reality, they know little to none about who is running their immediate everyday life. On the flip side to that, you learn a lot about how the local government works in response to the constituents who do take advantage of their power.
This summer I am most proud that I put my foot in the door. This internship is the first that has anything to do with my career choice. That in itself makes it all worth it, even if I did not get the full effect. I also met some very nice people that I hope to continue connecting with over the years to come.
This is a picture of the number of emails I have to go through. http://www.ctcapitolreport.com is the website we use to stay updated about things happening around the state.
First off, I have to say I’m very disappointed I did not get a chance to work in the state capital this summer. Working in the building was one of the main highlights of the job being as that I could have met so much people and began to network. The days that I did go (over winter break for training) I started to get a sense of what its like and everyone was so nice. I was looking forward to working with and getting to know these people. Not to mention the random masses of protestors coming in and out before and after session. Now it feels no different than when we were doing classes online. I was more okay with that change but I find it hard being home and having to do work. However, on the other hand, I still feel as though we are doing good work, which is fine with me. I go through hundreds of emails a week trying to help constituents with their problems and at least that feels good. I just don’t feel as though I’m getting the experience I signed up for.
I believe this isn’t that different from university life. Im expected to turn in some said amount of work by a certain time. The only differences are the obvious ones: Im working for my boss not my professor, the work I’m doing is to help others and not myself.
One good skill I’m gaining or honing in on out of this is responsibility. Honestly, the only other professional setting I have worked in besides maybe campus is my job at CVS. Obviously my responsibilities at CVS are dramatically different than working at the governors office, so I feel as though I have gained a whole new aspect of responsibility. Im no longer the kid who sits at the register all day but now I am one of the workers in the office and I share nearly equal responsibility with everyone, with the exception of my supervisor of course. However, we ALL sort emails and etc., he is just better trained so a lot of my decisions have to go through him. Another skill I have learned is another form of code switching. In my neighborhood we use a lot of slang and it does tend to carry over places, however, there is no room for it here. The language required to address constituents has to be very specific given that we are representing the governor himself, which can be difficult some times because as I mentioned before, I have to run everything by my supervisor first. However, he has mentioned to me before that my email drafts are getting better and that I should be able to work on my own at some point.
The hyper link above is the website we use to stay updated about events going on around the state, as it is our job to know these things if a constituent was to come asking.
This summer I am working in the Office of Governor Ned Lamont in Constituent Services and External Affairs.
I started my internship about 2-3 weeks ago. Since we are not allowed in the building the experience is a little less than what I was expecting to get. Normally, we would have physical letters to go through, and proclamations to create, however, there is nowhere for anyone to mail in to and no machines to print proclamations. Therefore, we just sort emails all day.
A lot of people have many concerns during this time, ranging from COVID to police brutality. So far I’ve learned to respond to several types of emails on my own, one of them being people who have yet to receive their unemployment checks. I get about 100 emails to go through a week and if there are any I feel like I can’t respond to, my supervisor and I go over them together and he gives me further instructions. I’m actually getting to a point where he wants me to start drafting responses for myself and having him look over it. I just have to get used to the language used by the office and learn a lot more solutions.
One example of that is creating a “case”. This is when a constituent has emailed us with a problem significant enough for a course of action. I then would have to go online and create this case where I’m sending the email directly to a person who can solve this constituent’s problem. That said, our mission is to get through as many emails as possible so that we can help people with their problems in these rough times. Here is a website we send constituents for updates.
My goal by the end of this summer program is to familiarize myself with the different components of local government. When I went for my training back in December, the people in the office taught me so much about the local government it was crazy. I had no idea how oblivious I was to what my local government does due to the fact that everyone always has an eye on federal politics. However, I believe that if people want the machine that is the government to start working in their favor, they must master local politics. When I say master I mean become educated about its components and then utilizing them: emailing the governor, going to open sessions, protesting in the lobby, etc.
I chose to look for an internship in my city because, hopefully, when I become a lawyer, I want to work back home where I can help my people. This internship will not only get my foot in the door but it will give me a lot of the knowledge I need to eventually be able to make a change in my community. My supervisor is also pretty nice, he gives me a lot of room to ask questions and he works with me a lot to make sure I’m situated.