Here are a few things I've learned in my past three weeks on the Hill:
1. The elected official you work for is simply referred to as "the boss"- e.g. saw your boss in the elevator earlier, I'm sure your boss will vote this way, i've got to get this list of questions to the boss, etc.- not sure why this is case, but I guess it eliminates the question of which formality to use (the Congressman, Representative, Mr. so and so...and it's shorter than all of those!
2. There really are underground tunnels and a small subway system that links the House office buildings, Capitol building, the Capitol Visitor Center, and the Library of Congress- you never have to go outside in the cold if you don't want to! And the little subway train is very much like that in Spartanburg's Cleveland park that I loved to ride growing up...and still pretty fun
3. Finding time to work out or cook dinner when your job takes 12 hours of your day is pretty tough. Finding time for Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, however, is not.
4. The specific legislative issues that each staffer is assigned to is called their "portfolio." I am sure I gave a very confused look to the first person who asked what was in my portfolio.
5. The Hill is full of YOUNG staffers. I am definitely one of the older ones, and many of my same-aged peers are already in some pretty powerful positions. At a recent lunch with Clemson grads on the Hill, more than half of the 10+ there graduated after 2008.
6. Committee hearings are covered by C-SPAN. Staffers can often be picked up by the camera in the background during said hearings....so it's probably wise to put on some lipstick before!
7. While I may be overwhelmed and tired and sometimes frustrated by how much I don't know, seeing "the boss" deliver a speech on the House floor that I helped edit and watching him question a witness during a hearing reminds me just how blessed I am to have the opportunity I do.