As a Congressional Aide, Girl Scout Komal S. spent a week shadowing the office of Representative Jack Kingston. Komal writes about her experience below.
This summer, I had the enlightening and enriching opportunity to call myself a Girl Scout Congressional Aide. I thought I was completely prepared for this week-long program, having kept up with all my favorite fictitious political dramas, but my experience was quite different from what is televised. Instead, I had the distinct honor to work with some of the nicest and most hard working people I had ever met. When I first arrived at the Rayburn building, my stomach was full of butterflies. Being in an environment composed of such professionalism and stringent rules was something I have never experienced firsthand. Naturally I walked in and quickly became the young girl who looked very lost and kept going to the wrong elevator floor. However, after finally finding Congressman Kingston’s office, the knots and nerves began to slowly fade.
I must say that my first day was not exactly what I had envisioned. In my mind, I expected an onslaught of work to be given to me: anything from answering phones to writing emails. However, it turned out to be a slow day in Senator Kingston’s office, so I decided the best option was to try and really get the feel for the building while I had the chance. How could I not? The building was the official workplace of so many senators and congressmen and I was literally immersed within the heart of the political culture of the United States. So, I decided to test the waters by going to a Congressional hearing. It was fascinating to be in the same room with presidential appointees getting questioned by members of the Senate.
When I returned the following day, I found myself very busy. I was pleasantly surprised at the work I was given because it all seemed so important to me. This included tasks like summarizing readings for legislative assistants and researching domestic policy issues for Senator Kingston’s Chief of Staff. I felt like I actually made a difference despite the fact that in reality, my time at Senator Kingston’s office was so short. Yet, somehow, my work felt extremely important to the big picture of the legislative process. The week turned out to be an amazing experience in which I got the chance to learn and understand what the professional world entails and also attain an overall understanding of what goes on behind such sacred doors in order to carry out the democratic legislative process.
One of the most unique experiences I had involved taking the trek from the Senate side to the House side. I spent plenty of time getting lost within the numerous tunnels, tunnel intersections and different elevators that went to different floors of different buildings.
This program is amazing and I am eternally grateful for all I got the opportunity to learn. Next time I am in Washington, D.C., looking at the monuments and at all of the museums, when I see a sliver of the U.S. Capital building in the distance, I will stand a bit taller and prouder, knowing that I was part of such an incredible process.