As my internship nears its end, I find myself reflecting more and more about what I’ve learned during my time here. What I will remember the most is the real-world experience I gained, which made me want to come back for more, maybe even as an Assembly or Senate fellow. Whether it was meeting with committee staff or participating in staff briefings with my Member, I got a glimpse of what life after college could be like, and I really liked the idea of it. For example, I was able to sit in on a staff briefing for the Assembly Labor Committee for a hearing that was going to deal with a few controversial bills including SB 3, which would increase the minimum wage. I then relayed the committee chair’s recommendations to my Chief of Staff and Member. I always knew I had an interest in labor issues, but actually sitting in on the meetings affirmed my interest in a way that nothing else could. I even got to put a bill across the desk. It was an Assembly Joint Resolution that called upon Congress to provide 15,000 visas to highly skilled South Korean nationals. I have also gotten to do bill research that I hope will turn into actual legislation sometime after I leave, such as a tax credit for senior citizen renters.
A week and a half has passed thus far during my internship with Assemblymember Kansen Chu in the State Capitol, and I have already realized that I’m in the right field. Like many college students, I go back and forth a lot trying to find my calling, and before this internship, I had major doubts about whether politics was the right place for me. However, the Fellows in this program and all of those who I have met in the Capitol have changed my mind. I am naturally an introvert, which is what made me have doubts in the first place, because at times it seems like there is no place for introverts in the networking-heavy and debate-heavy political world. Being a part of Cal-in-Sac gave me an instant community that I had already known for six months before I came here, and experiencing our state’s capital with my fellow fellows, whether it is at Sacramento Pride or just eating a delicious free lunch in front of the Capitol makes it so much easier to overcome whatever I am nervous about.