On May 12, 2017, I moved to Ottawa to begin my five weeks interning with a member of the Canadian House of Commons. While there, I had the incredible fortune of working in the office of the Honourable Don Davies. As an intern, I got to conduct research on federal health policy, analyze election results, write parliamentary statements, and correspond with constituents.
The most impactful part of my time in Ottawa was the confidence that I gained. Going into my internship, I was struggling to create a concrete career goal. While I had interned at the Ohio Statehouse earlier in the year, I was still having a very difficult time imagining myself working a 9-5 job and enjoying it. I had changed majors during my freshman year, leaving behind my pre-medicine track, and everything that I had originally planned for myself. Throughout my sophomore year, I really worked on getting my bearings in my new public affairs major in addition to my public health major. I knew that I wanted to eventually work in civil service. Yet, I still struggled throughout the year to feel confident in this new path. My experiences and the passion that I found I had for the work I was doing reassured me that I am moving in the correct direction.
My work, the people I worked with, and the beautiful city of Ottawa all had a huge impact on me in finding my confidence. There was a “jack of all trades” aspect of the work I was doing. This was especially true of my research. Mr. Davies is the New Democratic Party’s Critic for Health for the the first session of the 42nd Parliament. Consequently, Mr. Davies represented his party on the Standing Committee for Health. Throughout my time in Ottawa, I did much of the background research preparing for these committee meetings. This allowed me to gain a breadth of working knowledge on a wide variety of issues. These ranged from Lyme disease to antimicrobial resistance. It required that I understand Canadian law and regulations related to these topics and present my research in a concise manner. I found that I love digging into new material. It was incredibly gratifying to see the way that my research was translating into potential new policies that could positively impact the health of Canadians.
Throughout my time on Parliament Hill, I met incredible people. The passion for pubic service that I saw astounded me. Not only did I enjoy working with my mentors and supervisors, I found a home in my office. It may have only been five weeks, but I learned how to build strong professional relationships quickly. This paid off. It allowed those in my office to trust me with important work. Throughout my time as an intern, I regularly received high praises from those that I worked with. This reinforced the confidence that I was already gaining from my love of my work.
Finally, Ottawa, with its history and sights, provided me with a new home. The combination of an incredibly positive and productive work environment with a city that I quickly grew to love allowed me to thrive. Ottawa gave me the chance to explore, giving me an extra boost of confidence and reminding me of my love for new places.
This experience was an incredible new chapter for me. Already, it has motivated me to apply for a new internship for the coming semester, working on a local politician’s reelection campaign. It has give me the knowledge that I am gathering the skills necessary to succeed in the work that I hope to do. Finally, it has given me the confidence to continue to pursue my goal of working in civil service.