When I tell people, “I study Politics at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.,” their first response is, “Well that is definitely the perfect place to be!” Having the chance to study politics three miles away from some of our most powerful lawmakers has been an incredible experience.
As a CUA student, I can hop on a metro train after classes and gain valuable work experience at an internship, and this has allowed me to put several defining and impressive job experiences on my resume. My professors and advisor have always encouraged me to take as many experiences as I could during my time here at CUA in order to gain a better understanding of what kind of career path I want to take. This piece of advice is something I have also passed on to the underclassmen as I believe it is an integral part to building a happy and successful work life.
During my time at CUA, I have had the opportunity to intern in several places, including The White House last year. Taking classes full time, interning 40 hours a week, and participating in extracurricular activities is no easy task but something very worthwhile and rewarding. During my time with the National Economic Council at The White House I was able to do research, write policy proposals, and work with the healthcare team to assist in making policy decisions on ways to advance President Obama’s economic goals regarding healthcare. Of course I was learning in my school courses, but also at my internship where I gained valuable career skills such as time management, leadership, and work independence. Because I knew I would be working on the healthcare team I was able to select courses that would help to enhance my internship experience. My Public Policy course gave me the background knowledge I needed while the internship gave me the particle and real life experience in that field.
Experiencing work life in the White House was incredible! While there, I had the opportunity to attend many events including the Spring Garden Tour, Easter Egg Roll, and the Canadian State Arrival Ceremony with Prime Minister Trudeau. To see first-hand the relationship these two world leaders have was incredible. While they are great partners in the political sphere, it is evident they are also great friends through the jokes that were made. One of my favorite exchanges was when President Obama noted America had better beer and hockey teams than our neighbors. To this, Prime Minister Trudeau laughed and told President Obama not to push his luck, even if the Chicago Blackhawks, Obama’s hometown team, currently held the Stanly Cup championship title. Being up close and in the moment at this event was an experience like no other and something I will always cherish.
Just as our country is in a transitional phase for our next political chapter, so am I with beginning to plan my future after my time here at CUA. Because I have been able to take so much of my knowledge from classes and put it to practical, real-world use, I have the confidence that my professors, advisors, career counselors, and peers have adequately prepared me for my next steps come this May. My time at CUA and at the White House have both been incredible. While neither of them were easy, they have proven to me at public policy is the perfect path for my future.
Lauren is from Westlake, OH, and she is a senior graduating with a B.A. in politics and a minor in Global Migration. She is Vice President of Student Government Association.