My STEP internship was more than I could have ever imagined. I was employed at The Ohio House of Representatives for the entirety of the summer and also worked at the Democratic National Convention for a week in Philadelphia. At the State House I was a Page for the summer where I worked as an assistant to many different state representatives. I was disappointed I did not get to take very many pictures of this internship but the house does not meet during the summer. They are in recess almost the entire summer so it is a little slower on the legislation side. Just because legislation is slower does not mean that my job gets to be any slower. Most of the legislative staff spend their summer playing catch up for the next legislative cycle; so it is very busy. We are filing, answering constituent calls, replying to emails and doing any other task that may need done. It is also an election year so a lot of the staff take time off to go run campaigns which leaves pages like myself assigned to cover the office of the absent staff. When that happens we are beyond busy. One staff is assigned to a district of 80,000 people. That’s a lot of phone calls and emails!
During this internship I learned a few things about the city of Columbus…the hard way! Since I lived in the dorm the previous year I did not have an apartment to stay in during my internship. STEP projects are due in April before a lot of OSU students decide if they will be subleasing their apartments out for the summer of not. Due to few available rooms near campus I ended up renting a room off of West Broad Street. The home was owned by a local young couple who rent out their guest room to OSU students short term. The house was beautiful and the room was furnished; but it was a drive to work. When looking at rooms to rent I did not consider traffic since I have always taken the city bus to down town. That was a mistake; I spend over thirty minutes sitting in traffic each day to go less than seven miles. I also did not factor in the price of a parking garage daily when trying to complete my STEP budget. Weekly parking downtown is $25 which comes with a long hot walk from the garage. YUCK!
The convention was all around a crazy adventure. I have never gone without sleep for longer than a day or two and the convention was nearly 6 days with no sleep! I was one of 10 staff members that Ohio got to run our delegation. Staff checked in at 6am every morning and checked out at 4am. I was lucky to get 2 hours of sleep each night for 5 nights. Each morning we would check in and pass out credentials to our assigned delegation members. Then we had to staff about 4 different happy hours at various locations in Philadelphia for the non-delegation members throughout the day. We shared our events with the Virgin Islands so they attend all of our events also. When the evening finally came half of us would staff the delegation inside the convention and the other half would staff the non-delegation watch party. I got to go inside the convention on Tuesday to see Bill Clinton speak and Thursday to see Hillary accept the nomination. As a woman, sitting in those stands to hear the first female in history accept the presidential nomination was life changing. If just fills your body with hope for the future.
My STEP internship was the more transformational experience of my life. I got to work first hand with the men and women who make our state one of the best states in the country and I got to see the first women accept the presidential nomination. These are stories that I will have to tell for the rest of my life. This experience has just grown my passion to work toward my degree and toward making this country a better place for all Americans. STEP is one of the greatest parts of being an OSU student and I would recommend this program to every sophomore. Go and make your dreams come true!