Courtney O'Reilly's Reflection on her Washington D.C. Experience

In a matter of ten weeks, I moved halfway across the country and back again, had strangers turn into best friends, and had a mediocre resume turn into one that many of my classmates are jealous of. Sometimes I forget how crazy that is! For a few short months I was able to work alongside the country’s best and brightest. Nearly everyone you meet is an expert at something. The majority of people have some sort of graduate or Law Degree, and spend their days doing influential things that are often likely to make it onto the nightly news. I would often forget that as I explored the city, I am wandering around the same city that our founding fathers built. As I walk around the halls of the Capitol Building, I remind myself of most of the important and controversial decisions that have been made in these very rooms for more than 200 years! 


What often struck me as the most surprising fact was how easily I fit in. Sure, there were times where I didn’t know what I was doing and the material I was to be researching was absolutely daunting. But the majority of the time, I knew where to go, what to do, and what questions to ask. 

Upon leaving two of my supervisors took me out to coffee to say goodbye and discuss how the summer went.  I was incredibly excited to receive their complements and high praises. Throughout the summer I worked hard and asked for critiques, but was never really given an idea of how I was doing overall. So it made for an incredible surprise. 

I have been back in Minnesota for a week, and classes have just started. But I received an email from the tour coordinator in Senator Franken’s office. She was forwarding me a thank you note from a constituent whom I had given a Capitol tour. His son is just entering college and planning on studying politics and government. I was able to connect with this family on the tour and give their son some advice. So while to me it may have just been another tour, to them it was incredibly special. It is moments like this that I am going to miss the most. Touching people’s lives, and working to improve those of everyday Americans. For now, I am looking forward to finding new ways to do so as I am back at school in Minnesota. And who knows, maybe a year from now I will find myself back in DC.