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  • Eliza Brashares 9:49 pm on August 11, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , honesty,   

    The End 

    In the other internships I’ve had, the end of an internship was a big deal. There was usually lunch, a thank you email, I even had once coworker cry once. Since many of us interns ended on Friday the 5th, and only a few interns were going out to lunch with their respective supervisors, the rest of us decidedly to plan ourselves a little lunch in our own honor. It was not a big deal but it was nice to be together on our last lunch. In keeping with tradition, we went to Sweet Greens and then sat outside and talked for a while about what we had learned here, as well as our personal lives. While there was no company lunch, no thank you card, no tears, I did get two hugs and a chance to spend lunch with some of my new friends. So here goes, the final “Things I have learned” list:

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  • Eliza Brashares 8:59 pm on August 7, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: data entry, last week, , taking one for the team   

    Your project, my project 

    The last week at my internship was anything but relaxing. Our organization is preparing for the release of a large report that will be presented at our offices nationwide. The data is due next week and as luck would have it, the data is in no way complete. This report is not in my area, but I had to stop whatever I was doing this week and help collect the data. One of my favorite things about my internship is that I got to do copious amounts of writing; the week I was chained to an Excel spreadsheet and lived mostly in the world of copy, paste. Not how I pictured spending my last week.

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  • Eliza Brashares 4:48 pm on July 27, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: annoyed, C-SPAN, taking work home   

    Taking my work home with me 

    As everyone must know, the Congress is in a full-on tizzy. One bill in particular that is moving through the House directly effects everything that me and my colleagues have been working on since the summer started and even before that. It has been insanity to say the least. Due to the craziness and the need to stay up-to-date is imperative, every intern is perpetually glued to their computer watching C-SPAN.

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  • Eliza Brashares 2:50 pm on July 18, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , midway, ongoing, status, three more weeks   

    Three weeks left. 

    My summer, sadly, is coming to an end very soon. I have only three more weeks at my internship and then it’ll be time for me to head home for some r&r. As I become more and more aware that my time is dwindling down, I’ve began to take stock of what I have learned and what I still want to accomplish in my time left here. I had a list of goals, some big, some small, that I wanted to accomplish this summer. This is as good a time as any to see where I stand.


    1) Go to a Senate/ House Press Conference. Status: Accomplished

    This goal was a silly one, mostly decided upon after watching one too many episodes of The West Wing. While it was not ground-breaking legislation attended by the ranking members of the Senate, it had everything I think the majority of press conferences had: press, a piece of legislation, and shameless self-promotion.

    2) Get published in a newspaper. Status: Accomplished. 

    While a Letter to the Editor may not be the definition of Pulitzer reporting, it is the most highly read section of the newspaper (fun fact). I’ve gotten several letters to the editor published all across the country. I had never had something published the in paper before, so I count this as a solid victory. Finally, there is something that comes up when you google my name besides twitter and linkedin.

    3) Make a coalition on an issue I care about. Status: Ongoing

    For a field intern, making coalitions is a big part of what I do. Without coalitions, not much would get done with any real force. Coalitions add power to the punch of legislation. The more groups on a letter, the more press it’s more likely to get. This is pretty much the reason to keep us field interns around; to bargain with other groups.

    4) Visit a Senator/ Representative’s Office. Status: Not yet accomplished. 

    Again, a goal derived mostly from The West Wing.

    5) Learn to work independently more efficiently. Status: Ongoing.

    As described in my post last week, during my boss’ absence, Facebook and Sporcle were companions. However, I am ready for lots of tasks this week when my boss is back in the office.

    6) Feel fulfilled at my job. Status: Ongoing

    Due to the oncoming recess for Congress, a lot of my work will see results very shortly. While I feel very secure in the work I’ve done so far, we will soon see how much all that work achieved.


    These are just a few of my goals and I have lots more that I still need to accomplish. But so far, I’m proud of what I’ve done this summer and I can’t wait to see everything that happens in the next three weeks.


  • Eliza Brashares 3:43 pm on July 12, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: anti-stress, clean-up, downtime, free time   

    The Busy Season- Kind Of 

    Hi All!

    My last post dealt with dealing with stress that your coworker or boss has unconsciously dumped onto you. As the debt ceiling deadline closes in and the whole of Congress seems to be moving at a hyper-speed pace with recesses cancelled left and right, many other interns are feeling the heat, both in and out of the office. I’m convinced having to wear a suit to the office only makes matters worse because now, not only are you and your boss stressed, you’re extra sweaty. I, however, seem to be having the exact opposite problem.

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  • Eliza Brashares 4:13 pm on July 7, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: deadlines, office tension,   

    Stress Overflow 

    Hi All!

    All of us interns out there know that sometimes when things don’t get done on-time or, say, a hearing doesn’t go the way we like it, we can be stressed. Stress and I have been well-acquainted for years, unfortunately. A lot of us lead stressful lives and, on top of that, are in stressful internships. This summer has actually been relatively stress free in terms of my internship, but the same cannot be said for my coworkers or my boss. Since our work is directly impacted by Congress and the Administration, it can be very stressful. My direct supervisor has always been really good at not dumping the stress onto me, but the same can’t always be said of everyone else in the office.

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    • Marie Spaulding 4:43 pm on July 7, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Eliza – what great advice you offer! It is very difficult not to take these things personally, but you seem to have a good perspective. Thanks for your insights. Marie

  • Eliza Brashares 3:24 am on July 5, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: choices, , togetherness   

    A part of the team, but not really 

    It has been over a week since I posted. As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I accepted a babysitting job to supplement my living costs here in DC. As all unpaid interns know, it can be very, very, very nerve-wracking to not have a steady source of income, but be spending money everyday on metro, food etc. So far, I have been watching the kids for a week. Since I’ve gotten my first paycheck, it is abundantly clear why I took this job. It feels great to have an income again. However, all is not well with the union of part-time work and unpaid internship.

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  • Eliza Brashares 5:42 pm on June 22, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , tool, , uncomfortable   

    Personal social media enters professional life 

    Everyone and their mother has heard that social media is the new frontier. Here is a list of all our new vocab in case you aren’t up to date on your web 2.0 lingo. Our personal lives were the first targets.  Who remembers Myspace? That’s right: everyone. Myspace’s furious rise and rather anti-climactic fizzle out were just a few short years ago. It was all good fun until you couldn’t log onto myspace without 7 bands wanting to be added as a friend. The infamous “myspace picture” pose will go down as a joke for our generation, and our generation only, will understand. While a few social media sites came before myspace, I was blissfully unaware.

    Then came Facebook; procrastinator extraordinaire, and now everyone and their mom has one. Literally, when my mom got one I was a little weirded out. While its original purpose, I’m sure, was useful(-ish, I haven’t seen The Social Network), it’s mostly been a major distraction and a source of information I really didn’t need to know in my life. Now, Facebook is both a professional and personal tool. Most businesses, musicians, and organizations have Facebook pages. Hey, there are lots of us. Might as well use it.

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  • Eliza Brashares 5:31 pm on June 16, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: babysitting, , , nervous, part-time   

    Unpaid internship, meet part-time employment 

    Hi all!!

    Well, I’m in the middle of my third week here at Environment America! I have some of the most amazing coworkers ever! Friday, we are going to Jazz in the Park together. We even have a softball league where we compete against other environmental groups in DC, go global swarming!! If you have never been to the Mall in the afternoons, I highly recommend it. Lots of Congressional offices have their own teams and, let me tell you, the competition is fierce. We’re talking team dances, songs, the works. I am not exactly what one might call athletically inclined when it comes to softball, so I head up the spectating session. We have great fun as well.

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  • Eliza Brashares 4:06 am on June 9, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , Environment America,   

    First few days 

    Hello there!

    I will be working this summer, full to part-time, for Environment America, a citizen based environment advocacy organization that fights for clean water, clean air and open spaces. My internship application process for Environment America started a long time ago. I met Jenn Kaufer, the former intern coordinator, at the Fall 2010 AU Career Fair. We got to talking about the Spring 2011 internships. However, I was studying abroad in Copenhagen the previous semester, so we continued talking throughout the semester and here I am. My work, as the Field intern, is basically to coordinate and promote the campaigns of the 29 state-based Environment America groups. I would do this through generating media attention, as well as coalition building.

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