Week 13:
Looking to the Future


Tomlinson Fellow in Representative Government

Congressional Office of David Loebsack (D-IA 2) | Washington, D.C.

August 9, 2016

The end of last week meant that I only had two more weeks left in D.C. to learn all that I could. This learning, like always, was done both during and after my job. While the work I did at my job tended to stay constant from week to week, there are always new tasks and challenges given to test how well you are prepared for the real world.

One of the most important things for a young professional to have while they are trying to make their way in the world is a business card. While a first time business card is often a flimsy slip of paper with pertinent info on it, I have learned that these often do not do the trick. I learned this through my work at Congressman Loebsack’s office. Whenever somebody meets with a member of our staff, they give us a business card so that we can remember who we have met with. After a while, however, these cards start to pile up. That’s why on Thursday I and the other interns were asked to move all of the data from the cards onto an Excel spreadsheet. This task allowed me to focus on what made a good and effective business card. The effective ones were not the ones on cheap and flimsy paper with only text. Instead the effective ones had images that highlighted what the people did for a living as well as tell us what to expect from the meeting. These sturdier cards with images are much more likely to be taken seriously, I learned, due to the fact that they actually stand out. As somebody who is moving into the real world in less than a year, it is important that I learn these kinds of things now so that those small tips, as well as my Cornell education, give me every opportunity to be the best candidate for a job that I can be.

When I wasn’t organizing business cards and realizing the importance that they play in making a good first impression, I was writing. Since my time is ending in D.C. soon, that means that my ability to give tours is also coming to an end. With all of the positive feedback that they had received from my tours as proof, Congressman Loebsack’s office asked me to write a tour guide manual so that I can help train the intern who will replace me and as well as the other interns who follow in the years to come (hopefully). I put every little thing that I talked about during my tours into the manual, from the glory to the Progressive Era (1898-1929,) to why the long-distance telegraph was one of the most important inventions in human history (along with gunpowder, fire, the wheel, and movable print type). Although the manual turned out to be 29 pages long, I am still very proud of the work that I put into it and that the people in the office trusted me enough to do something this important.

President_Reagan_gives_the_State_of_the_Union_Address_to_Congress_1988
How I felt with my final manual.

When I was not at work, I was catching up with some old friends. While Saturday was spent getting some work done that I had been meaning to do, Sunday morning was spent with my friends Kenny and Laurel. Being Cornell graduates, both Kenny and Laurel were able to understand the hard work that it takes to get something done. They also understood, though, how sometimes you need to relax and do something fun with your spare time. We decided to go to D.C.’s famous Eastern Market. Billed as the largest farmers market in all of D.C., the Eastern Market provided us with great opportunities to take in the local culture as well as see and taste some local produce (especially the apple butter). Seeing as how I was still considering how I would have to look the part of a professional once I left school in a year, I decided to increase my wardrobe a bit. I saw a stand where a man was selling beautiful cuff-links that were all based on old campaign buttons (another one of my true passions). I found a set based on John F. Kennedy’s campaign in 1960 and got them for a very reasonable price. I hope that they come in handy in the future.

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Even though my time in D.C. is ending, there is still so much to learn and do. I will never be able to do it all, but with my Cornell education I will try my best.

 

Havens Professional Headshot

Andrew Havens '17

Andrew is a politics major from Hickory Hills, Illinois.