Student experience : Jared Opperman
Everyone has their own preconceptions of Washington D.C. and I was no different. I imagined D.C. as a monstrous metropolis with zero political cooperation and a complete lack of southern hospitality. I wasn’t entirely wrong, but all of these were only half truths at best. D.C. is not a small town by any means, but for a city with its population, it is surprisingly easy to navigate and perhaps even more surprisingly it is, at times, even friendly. Part of this may be because D.C. revolves around the Capitol and the Capitol is home to Americans from all 50 states, all with different ideas and different cultures. But that’s what makes D.C. so much fun.
This summer I worked in Congressman Michael McCaul’s office, and while most of us were from Texas, we had some other states represented in the office as well. There were some New Yorkers, an Illini, and even a Virginian and yet we were all working for the same man and the same ideas. The political gridlock in D.C. isn’t imagined, but it can be overblown. Most of the Congressmen are extremely friendly and I know firsthand just how gracious and generous they can be. Now not all offices are the same and some are definitely easier to work for than others, and perhaps I was lucky in that regard, but not everything in D.C. is about the office. At least not with this internship program.
The Tech interns on the Hill are relatively well known and most certainly well regarded. For some offices we are even the hot commodity that they look forward to throughout the year, but, to me, what makes the Texas Tech internship program so special is the Tech House and the bonds that form within it. Not only is the Tech House an ideal location for practically everything, but the inclusion of all Tech interns in one place makes certain that you have friends during your time on the Hill. I’m sure it varies from year to year, but the friends I made during my internship I intend to keep. You work with each other, eat with each other, and travel with each other and by the end you have some pretty strong friendships to show for it. All in all, D.C. is an incredible place. With landmarks like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress, D.C. is like an American pilgrimage and in the middle of it all is the Tech House. Between the work and career lessons of the office, the travel experiences of the area, and the friendships made in the Tech House, the Texas Tech internship program is an invaluable experience that I will always be grateful for.