Here Is What Being “A Hope College Person in DC” Means

Maybe I will not post on FB a screenshot from C-SPAN that has me in the shot…

Maybe I am eating this disgusting Whole Foods wild rice vegetable soup right now, which I had to reheat 5 times because it got cold in between the tasks that I am attending, in my fluorescent-lit cubicle…

Maybe I will not shake hands with Obama or take a selfie with Biden…

But you better believe I can, and did, get a casual picture with the Secretary of Education before I talked to him about Thanksgiving food and parenting. This is what Hope College does to you; it makes you stop chasing after fame. While all the “kewl skool” interns are flexing their muscles about their school titles, I am just thinking about whether I should actually throw away the soup and get something more decent to eat from the food truck. I don’t need where I come from to prove that I am capable of managing the intern tasks; I do, however, make sure that what I do and how I do it says something about me. So, maybe walking into the office double fisting two donuts wasn’t a good idea, but other than that, I think I’m okay.

When I was complaining about the White House internship application, I told one of my professors that our program is weak, just because they did not teach us or show full instructions on how to write a policy memo. “This is unbelievable,” I thought, “no wonder all the Ivy League school kids get in and we don’t have anyone in the internship program.” Little did I know I, too, could get into the program just like a few other Hope students did. After I whined to my prof. like a little baby, she very gracefully told me that I am an adult and I have to figure it out. It was her way of saying, “suck it up and do it yourself.” For some, this might be appropriately daunting, but for me it was an “a-ha” moment.

Bear with me while I go all “big sister” on you… Right now, you might be fascinated by big names all around. The problem with those are that even if you make it there, you still have to compete against crème de la crème students of that school to set your application apart from the others. Even to build up your resume about school positions, you will probably get lost amongst those who also want that chair just as bad as you do.

I’ll tell you one example… At the OCO (Office of Communications and Outreach), we just had a “gratitude coffee hour”. You know, there were people from the First Lady’s team and stuff, no big deal. As some people stepped up to say why they are thankful, my boss raised her hand to say a few words: “I’d like to say thank you to -insert a cool name here-. I don’t know how she does it, but thanks to her, I always end up with the best interns.”

I know for a fact she had multiple students from UCLA (undergrad), George Washington Public Policy Masters Program, etc. Not to mention that I am surrounded by schools names like Berkeley, Georgetown, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania. It gets intense and overwhelming, and a little old when you have to show where Hope College is on your hand because of the whole mitten thing. But just the fact that I am in that “best intern” bunch along with other super schools say something.

Maybe they did not post on FB a screenshot from C-SPAN that had them in the shot…

Maybe they were, too, eating this disgusting Whole Foods wild rice vegetable soup during their time in this florescent-lit cubicle…

Maybe so, maybe so. What matters is, one way or another we all made it here. Some of us, like Hope College kids, easier than the others. At the end of it all, we all stayed on hold for 25 minutes with the IT people every morning on the first week, just to log on to our government issued laptops.

And that’s all it matters.

Published by Idil Ozer

Senior at Hope. International Studies major, Political Science minor. The Anchor, World News Co-editor. Blogger for the Odyssey and Thought Catalog. Feeds on news, politics and donuts.

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