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Humility: What Interning Meant to Me

A former White House intern shares her experiences with the White House Internship Program during the summer of 2009 and what interning meant to her.

My summer as a White House intern redefined many parts of my life, but in a very literal sense, it gave me a new meaning of the word “humble.” When I applied, I was nineteen and wondering how I could possibly contribute to the work of our government. When I was chosen for an interview, I was shocked. When I was accepted, I was floored. The White House staffers who gave me the amazing news that day would teach me so much about committing to a team and never taking this opportunity for granted.
May 22, 2009, a date I will never forget, was my first day in the internship during one of the most exciting times to be in Washington. From my position in the Office of Legislative Affairs, I had a front row seat for so many different issues. President Obama and his legislative team were balancing health care, climate change, and then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation, among other priorities.
And while they were doing all this, they still found time to mentor me and bring me into their important work. My supervisors were professionals at the top of their field, respected Capitol Hill veterans and hardworking junior staffers. I assumed that kind of success made people arrogant and inwardly focused, too busy to help each other. But not at the White House: the Legislative Affairs crew was the most collegial, supportive group I had ever worked with.

Looking back, I cannot help but be humbled by everything I got to be a part of. I was really contributing to history, instead of watching it on C-SPAN or waiting for a professor to write about it. And my walk to work was a daily reminder of who I was working for. My walk to the office took me past the bank where my grandmother worked in the days after World War II, the department store where my father had one of his first jobs in America, and the building where my mother began her career. After generations of circling it, our family had made it to the White House. My internship was a gift: I got to honor the legacy of my family while working hard for a larger cause, nurtured and supported by great mentors who shared my values.
This is an unbeatable opportunity for anyone who is willing to work hard, be a real part of an incredible team, and adapt to challenging circumstances.
Apply for the Fall 2011 White House Internship Program. You’ll need a resume, two essays and three letters of recommendation – the deadline is Sunday March 13 at midnight, so do it now and don’t miss this opportunity.