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25 Ways You Know You’re A Hilltern

The congressional internship is almost a right of passage at universities in D.C. Almost every undergrad has done it at some point. Students flock to Washington, D.C. every year in hopes of brushing up to the political giants of this country, while in pursuit of their very own legacy. A “hilltern” is a student that receives the great privilege of interning on Capitol Hill. As the glory of the badge and professional outfits wear out, hillterns are still left with writing letters and answering a lot of angry constituent calls. This is the natural progression. Here are 25 ways you know you are or were a hilltern.

1. You make it loud and clear that you have made it to hill.

2. Flashing around the badge to all your friends and family, but you are still an intern and don’t want staffers to know that.

3. You have a picture on the steps with your congressman or congresswoman. Don’t lie to yourself, you love it.

4. You have realized that answering phone calls with upset constituents is definitely something you never want to do again. Plus, it’s annoying having to enter every single constiutent phone call.

5. You have at least one person in your office that is not even from the district. I’m sorry, how did you find this office?

6. You have no idea what you are doing half of the time, which will be an ongoing trend of interning. 

7. Seeing Paul Ryan at the Longsworth cafe is casual. You pretty much know his order anyway.

8. Usually the only people that have time to call are the crazies and old people. Their arguments don’t even make sense!

9. The after work receptions mean dinner never has to be paid for, even if that means listening about agriculture in Azerbaijan. I mean, I’m not getting paid anyway. 

10. You tell your family members all the little secrets of the capital you learned from tours. PSA: It’s all online.

11. Red coats…that is all. Worst tour guides ever.

12. Someone has probably gotten lost in the tunnels of the capital and is still waiting to be found. 

13. The “staff only” lines when going through security makes you feel so much better as an intern. Finally my free labor is worth something! 

14. The amount of lobbyists is insane. They walk into your office like they know what’s up, but in reality there are far too many of them bringing up irrelelvant issues. 

15. You have had to research obscure bills and topics such as honey bee migration patterns because a constituent wanted more information.

16. You have highly considered using the congressional research service for research projects and papers. I’m dedicating too much time and effort to this place for just “experience.”

17. It’s amazing how unique every office is and truly reflects their specific district. For example, the Alaskan offices have bear pelts while the Texan offices have Dr. Pepper in every fridge.

18. There’s always one intern that swears he is going to take over that office in the near future or be president.

19. Meeting families from your district gives you that little piece of home you have been missing all semester.

20. You feel like such a D.C. native compared to the people from other schools that come in giving them pointers on the best restaurants in the city.

21. The days when Congress is out of session are the best! Jeans!

22. It gets to a point where you almost start answering your phone beginning with, “Thank you for calling congressmans office. How can I help you?” Don’t let it get to that point ever.

23. Wearing the same black outfits and not knowing when it is an appropriate time to repeat outfits.

24. The level of attractiveness of ladies to gents speaks to the best districts.

25. It was a great experience, but it will never happen again.

Photo Credits: 1, 2

Mireille Olivo is a senior at American University studying Public Communication with a minor in health promotion. She is a self-proclaimed southern belle, sunset enthusiast, avid rock climber, Quentin Tarantino fan, and smiler.  When she isn't writing for HCAU, y'all can find her giving tours or strolling alongside the Potomac river. After graduation, Mireille plans on pursuing a career in public relations for the political movement. 
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