The Daily Grind: Formalities and Icebreakers…

To say that I was busy on the first day of The Washington Center Seminar would be an understatement. Overwhelming would be the apropos word to describe my experience. For one thing, the day started incredibly early and ended at 7:30pm. But the events that took place in between are what really matter.

For starters, the official orientation which took place at Hillsborough Community College on the Ybor City Campus was a long and lengthy event. It involved many papers (assignments) and the typical lecturing about conduct that occurs when college students are confined to hotels in the middle of a bustling metropolis for two weeks. The coordinators for the program were affable, charming and very knowledgeable, considering the fact that most were professors of political science or had worked in the political field in some capacity.

The highlights of the orientation were many. The first of which being the icebreaker, which involved the interns asking fellow interns a series of questions about their background and hobbies. While it sounds trite, it was actually a pleasant experience. By nature, I am an introvert, so any activity that involves polish up on my skills of communication is a bonus. Not to mention, meeting students from varying backgrounds, political ideologies and schools is always fascinating. (A fellow intern does a rather uncanny imitation of former Governor Sarah Palin).

Next up was a presentation about media interaction in which the interns were given points about how to conduct oneself with reporters and journalist, the advice was pretty standard and involved a lot of sense, but necessary nonetheless. After introductions to the numerous faculty advisors including Aaron Brown, the noted journalist and former Congressmen Mickey Edwards, the interns took a short lunch break.

The break allowed me to explore the city of Tampa, which is clearly ready for the Convention. Local businesses have posters and giant GOP elephants draped outside their windows. During a bus tour, later in the day, I was able to explore Tampa Bay Times Forum, where Governor Mitt Romney would be formally accepting his nomination for the presidency of the United States. The city seems to be humming with activity and in a matter of days; I expect even more hustle and bustle (and security) than I saw today.

After returning to the Hillsborough for the rest of the orientation, there was a speech given by Julie Imanuel Brown, who is currently Florida’s Public Service Commissioner. Her speech was not very long but she was energetic, friendly and rather open about her struggles and triumphs as a woman in politics, particularly a woman who had to balance her career and family throughout her adult life.

After this speech, the interns were divided into groups, in which we received our respective assignments and fieldwork appointments. Both of which involve a lot of work and reading. The faculty leader for my group, Mr. George Serra is a nice, well intentioned man who seems smart and has a wicked sense of humor. Thus, this meeting ended the formal portion of my day.

The orientation was followed by a bus tour of the city of Tampa, which involved landmarks like the Glazers Children’s museum and the Tampa Convention Center. Tampa is a fairly nice city; unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the humidity. After the bus tour, the interns mingled with faculty members of The Washington Center and socialized with one another at a cocktail reception at the Glazers Children’s Museum.

Overall, the day was a good one, despite all the events. I am glad that this internship seems to be an eventful one. It would be terribly disappointing to be a part of something that was merely a formality. This chance of a lifetime and it is necessary to spend this time with my skin in the game than sitting on the sidelines.



Powered by Facebook Comments

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email