Seeking Our Own Success: An Intern’s Guide to Survival
If my first few days in Washington D.C. have taught me anything, it is that success is never a guarantee. We are used to watching movies where the underdog comes out on top and the underrated team wins the game; we frequently hear stories of “rags to riches” and tales of unfathomable success. Although most of us are aware that such success stories are few and far between, I was somehow convinced that success would find me regardless of whether I chose to seek it out. Needless to say, I was wrong in my assumption.
On the first day of my internship, I walked into the Alliance for Justice office with minimal preparation, feigned confidence and a large vanilla latte that I carried to appear more mature. I felt a lot like Elle Woods on her fist day at Harvard Law School: wildly naïve, vastly ill-equipped and just a tad ridiculous. After some brief introductions and a quick tour of the office, I was swept off to a meeting at DC Vote, an organization dedicated to securing full voting representation and democracy for the residents of Washington, D.C.
I sat with leaders of various non-profits and other organizations as they organized a rally in protest of recent acts of Congress that limited the autonomy of the District. I was humbled after listening to these individuals, completely aware of my own insignificance in the presence of such political giants. In a town of politicians, bigwigs and heavy-hitters, it is difficult for a lowly intern such as myself to feel the sensation of success.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the journey to success should be equally, if not more rewarding, than the final destination. We sometimes need to remind ourselves that success is not something to be received but, rather, something we must create.
Alyson Warhit is a participant in the Machon Kaplan Summer Social Action Internship Program, interning at Alliance for Justice.