Unmatched Professional Experience

The poem Two Tramps in Mud Time encapsulates my experiences in D.C. in several senses. The protagonist of the story hardly heeds the other loggers waiting in the wings. Rather, he is more concerned with enjoying the Spring-time day, and contemplating the nature around him. He ponders how time can dwindle away, and why we should seize each summer day. He fears not what other workers have to offer; he considers how he can improve upon himself, and how he is chopping for his own enjoyment. I worked at these principles of squeezing positive lessons or experiences from my work. At my internship, I expanded my comfort zone through conquering difficult tasks, and expecting an improvement in my writing with each completed article. Regardless of my attorney’s considering me to be an “excellent writer,” I still combed my pieces in search of weak sentences or stronger variations. Although I was not particularly successful at the secretarial work such as answering the phones or interacting with clients, I continued to try in hopes of improving upon my uncultivated skills.

The protagonist looks at the other loggers as if they are missing a piece to their life puzzle. The two tramps solely chop for pay, and feel threatened when he chops his wood as blissfully as a logger with decades of experience. They are not enjoying their work, it is simply a means to an end for them. This idea correlates to my experience in D.C. as I see many people in this city frustrated with their current situation. What the poem highlights is that if one truly enjoys their occupation, it will not feel much like work at all. Rather, it will bring the same happiness the logger in this poem exudes. At times, my internship did feel like work. Especially when I had to fax or scan files, send correspondence and complete other remedial tasks. But when I sat in on IEP meetings and consultations, and dove into exhilarating blog topics, it did not feel like work at all. I felt as though I was simply working on what I enjoy, and experiencing an entire field of law I was not aware of prior to this internship.

I garnered important occupational as well as life skills during these two months in D.C. I received incredibly constructive criticism on my writing from our attorney’s, one of them being a prior professor, and also delved into the inner workings of a law firm. Whether the experience has swayed me into the profession of law is a different story, as I often switch life plans as I vet different occupations. What I do know is that the professional relationships, skills and communication I strengthened here will serve my career well. I am deeply indebted to the attorney’s for hiring late in the summer and challenging me with difficult yet interesting tasks. Because they appreciate my writing so much, they have offered to keep me on as a writer and marketer for the firm. I am excited to continue working with the Law Office of Brian K. Gruber, PC, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me.




Final Reflection: Your Work & Focus

This has been a bittersweet week. I’m happy and sad at once. I’ve tried to find the words to describe that I want to stay in Washington DC and being absolutely ready to go home to my family. Don’t think for a second I haven’t calculated what it would take to bring my family to Washington DC and find a great area with great schools to enroll my elementary school children in hasn’t crossed my mind. I’ve calculate as I’ve strolled through various neighborhoods as brisk oblivion of what neighborhoods cost and where good schools are accompany my imaginative move. I’ve done it. I’ve weighed the pros, and cons. The traffic and the wonderful aesthetics. I have. I’ve skimmed through opportunity and possibility only to find myself still on the fence about what could be. I wouldn’t dare move if it weren’t for a better opportunity in my life. Especially at the age and place I am in my life. All of what I described happened in a matter of minutes at different points but especially during reflection. What’s next? Will I go home and just remember that I worked as an adult intern in the nation’s capitol without pay? Probably, but I would have a different grasp on whether the opportunity of moving would be realistic. Is it?

“Two Tramps in Mud Time” is what this weeks reflection is about. How does this compare to my feelings and experiences here in Washington DC over the summer? The poem is about a man doing a job and how a stranger’s distraction and judgment makes him reconsider his work. He was challenged briefly but ethically in his work.  The writer speaks to the seasons as a parallel for setbacks. This happened more than likely to help his reader understand the focus of the poetic stanza. Perhaps when he drifts to nature is when he gives the most significant information. The importance of waiting and the seasons and setbacks that we face and how the slightest acute attention detail can sway a season from one direction to another. A monumental achievement for standing still in time and moving forward and backwards relatively. I’ve been focused and had little distraction during my time in Washington DC.  I think my above circling thoughts and emotions are a parallel reflection of the dualism of thought that I’ve had especially towards the end of this experience. It’s surprising really. At home I have a nice vehicle, and a comfortable home. In Washington DC I’m walking everywhere and I have 5 roommates who are young women and we share 2 bathrooms. Who would miss that when such comfort awaits? I’ve have to admit that I’m looking forward to comfort, driving my car and seeing my kids daily. Even with the discomfort nothing could make me stay a day longer without my children. It still doesn’t mean that I haven’t reflected on what it takes to combine the two worlds.

Here’s what I’ve gotten use to in Washington D.C. I’ve enjoyed walking to see the White House and Eisenhower buildings after work. There’s something about taking in those sights that seem almost surreal. I’ve gotten use to walking down 14th street to work each day and hearing the vibrant greeting of a man that I have nicknamed, “The good morning man.” Each morning he sits in a lawn chair with an orange juice or some morning beverage in hand at the corner of 16th and K streets and just says “good morning” to all of the people passing by. He will sing a tune with the greeting as well. I’ve gotten use to the red line Metro system. I can even travel on a few other colors. Much more information than a normal visitor for sure. Having roommates is ok because there are so many ideas and personalities that it’s refreshing. Washington DC is one of the best places I’ve networked. I’m certainly going to miss that.

Considering all of that, what would I say to a future capital scholar? Enjoy this experience. When you come to Washington DC take a job in what interests you and do your research. Start early on that search, months earlier, so that you can secure a worthwhile experience where you can flourish. Find a paid internship. The struggle is real. Walk down K street at least once before 9 am. You’ll see one of the nicest people in D.C. Start early to see the Smithsonian museums. There are plenty and most of them are free. It’s a real treat. Sign up for a White House visit a few months before you come out with your representative from Congress. You’ll likely get denied but try anyway. Get a list of other attractions. Most of them need a 3 week or more advance petition for visiting. Sign up for a CVS card. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. Sign up for Uber and Lyft if you haven’t already. That’s just a few things to consider. Overall, my experience has been productive. I’ve been in constant movement and I’ve gotten to know a place that I otherwise would not have.

So what have I decided? North Carolina, here I come with D.C. in my heart. My heart is open and I will never forget the changing seasons. F.Y.I. I love autumn! But springtime is nice too!

ASU adult distance learner signing off!




I Got What I Came For

To my fellow Capital Scholars, Advisors, and other potential readers,

The Capital Scholars program has come to an end. I leave D.C. in two weeks. It is truly bittersweet. Reading the poem “Two Tramps in Mud Time” gave me some time to reflect. In my perspective, the poem tells of a man who is confidently doing what he loves, and of a stranger distracting and judging him for his passions. This makes the man negatively think of his actions and reflect on his current state of life. He discusses how life can set you back and how you have to get back to what is most important to you.

I think the primary message is that you should always do what makes you happy. Being in D.C. has certainly taught me that. While I love the fast-paced environment, the endless opportunities, and the big city life, I want to take a step back and think about my long term goals and my passions outside of my career. I love to water ski, I love to be around my family, and I have built many relationships on the West Coast. I am thankful for this experience and this drastically different place that I came for the summer that has allowed me to grow professionally and personally more than I could have ever expected.

Will I return? Absolutely
Will I move here? Probably no time soon

On another note, one of my main goals of coming to D.C. was figuring out my post-graduation plans. I have decided the following:

1. Work in the private sector or non-profit arena for 4 years (fluff the resumé)
2. Pursue an MBA or Masters of Business Analytics degree (expand the qualifications)
3. Do the Masters program while working full-time (avoid major debt)

It is refreshing to say that I have crossed out the options of law school and masters of public administration. I decided I want to focus more on the business side of things because those skills are most valuable and then I can work in a non-profit, on a campaign, or at a consulting firm with useful skills I have gained. Last week I took a beginners course on SQL and Tableau. I have expanded my skills in Excel and other databases and I am loving data analytics – which is a growing industry.

To be blunt, I got what I came for. Who knows where these experiences will take me.

[Pictured Below]
Me in the crypt of the National Cathedral reppin’ AZ and me at the Marine Corps Scholarship         Foundation Awards Ceremony at the Marine Barracks 


Always and Forever For Liberty,

Two Tramps in Mud Time: How Robert Frost Speaks to Me

The first time I read the poem Two Tramps in Mud Time, the passages that initially jumped out at me were the ones about how quickly good weather will deteriorate once you begin to contemplate how nice it seems to be. I wondered, “Is the author saying we shouldn’t get comfortable or become complacent, because happiness and success is only temporary, and will most certainly disintegrate, sooner or later?” After thinking about it I had to laugh, because the fact that that was my first response probably reveals more about me than about the message Robert Frost wanted to convey. As great as it might feel to be a “glass half full” person, the truth is that I am not; at my core it just doesn’t surprise me when things go south, try as I might to make things go well.

But I’m not always a cynical person, I think I’m simply a realist. To me, when Frost writes words to the effect that if one cloud came overhead he would feel as if it was winter all over again, or about how even though there is water under the ground it takes only a little motivation for it to turn into a bitter frost that will coat the earth, in my opinion those descriptions lend a great deal of weight to his work. I think Frost has a penchant for putting bitter realism into his poetry, as opposed to a starry-eyed interpretation of how things are, and describing the setting of his story in that way makes it more amenable to me. I respect and can identify with that style of writing because it is real and it is honest. In that same way, I too am frank, and I won’t romanticize my trip to DC or my summer internship when I assess it. I don’t mince my words. When I describe my time in DC, I won’t say that it was all good or all bad, I will simply say how it was. So at the start, I have to say that I identified the most with that nature or aspect of Frost’s poem.

But of course the main theme of the poem does not lie in the temperamental weather. The theme is delivered between the lines of the physical task the narrator is completing. He is chopping wood. He is engaged in a mindless but tiring and repetitive task which he does because he is exercising discipline and because he enjoys doing it. The conflict appears when two “tramps,” or lumberjacks, arrive. They come presumably to do what the narrator is doing – chopping wood – because it is all they know and are prepared to do, and at that point the narrator has the opportunity to turn the job over to them. They would be happy to do it, and chances are they would do a better job. The struggle the narrator has then is between want and need: the narrator chops wood because he wants to and because he loves doing it, but the tramps chop wood because it is all they can do, and they need to do it to survive. His question becomes, should he continue working at the mundane task, or should he hire them on to do that job while he takes on some “higher” task, even though it might not be what he truly wants to do?

The author ruminates on this conflict and uses it to bring the entire message of the poem together. His message is that one must reconcile these conflicting interests, not only in a general sense but in oneself as well. While he considers whether he should give way to these poor fellows who need the work, he recognizes that in order for happiness to be achieved he has to unify the need to do something with the desire to do it. After considering it, he continues chopping the wood, and from that we gather that he simply enjoys the work. Leaving aside whether he can afford to hire the help, this seems to be the central question posed by the poem: If work is done begrudgingly, is it ever really done? And even so, is the work that is done worthwhile in the broader sense?

Many people will face such a question at some point in their career. The message I took from the poem is that people who are lucky enough to choose their vocation should work in a field and at a job they truly enjoy. In today’s shorthand, it’s usually thought of as pursing one’s passion, or the idea that you should “Do what you love, and love what you do.”

This is a lesson I identify with and one I feel compelled to live in my own life. This summer in DC and the internship I obtained was one of my desire. I came to Washington to pursue my passions, and having done so I now better understand what it is I am looking for, both in Washington and in my career. The internship work I did was worthwhile because it was something I did to test the strength of my passion for politics in the trenches. I now have a better understanding of what lobbying firms do on a daily basis, and how business is conducted in our nation’s capital. By accepting this position, I suppose I did prevent someone else from doing the job, although I never really thought about that before I read this poem. Does that bother me? Not really. Like Frost’s message in the poem, if you do something but you really don’t like it, then how do you reconcile doing it in the place of someone else? On the other hand – and as stated more positively, as it applies to my internship – if you truly love doing something, then yes, you should be the one doing it. I love my work here, and I put my heart into my job. In that respect, I think it does qualify me more than any other potential candidate, and it is something I should be doing. I enjoyed the work I did, and I believe I did it well. So I think the narrator of Frost’s poem would approve.

In reflecting on my summer in DC, overall it was time well spent. I don’t intend to idealize it, and I will say that it was not without its share of misfortune or personal strife. But it was certainly a personal growth experience with tremendous potential for my future, and that alone will mitigate any personal negatives I had. The people I met were enjoyable most of the time and interesting all of the time. I did things I hadn’t done before, I saw things from new or different perspectives, and I learned to evaluate problems from angles I hadn’t previously considered. Most importantly, I matured and grew as a person, and I became a more socially and politically aware individual. This was also the first 9-5 job I’ve had in which I reported to strangers, as opposed to jobs in which I’ve worked with or for people I already knew, and that in itself probably improved my relationship-building skills.

Maybe I gained some sage wisdom in my short time here or maybe these two months have just aged me 5 years. That is just a matter of perspective, I suppose. But what I can and will say is that I am glad I came to DC and I am proud of the work I did here. Not unlike the protagonist in the poem, I did it because I had a passion for it, and that love for politics and government has only been reinforced by my summer in Washington. So I may continue to chop this cord of wood. Only time will tell.

These Are the Good Times

Throughout my reading of “Two Tramps in Mud Time” I began to think about my life and how similar this poem is to the ideals I was raised with. Throughout my life all of the most influential people in my life have been what we lovingly refer to as “workaholics,” it wasn’t because their bosses were demanding it was because they loved their jobs so much they were happy to put in the extra work it takes. I feel as though I take after this work ethic, I am so incredibly grateful for the time I’ve had in Washington D.C. and I love working although I get home when the sun is gone I find my job to be so incredibly rewarding that it doesn’t matter. I’ve had many jobs but the only jobs I’ve genuinely loved were those that coincided with my major. I can work 36 hours straight and be exhausted but also be enthused by my work and happy to be doing it. Although some days it’s easier to roll out of bed then others working in politics is what drives me. This summer has been an opportunity for me to love my job but also to take a break from all the extra things I’m faced with in Arizona and truly love my life. I have never felt more happy then I have while being in D.C..

You see articles on the internet titled “Majors with the Most Money” or “Best High Earning Degrees” and I often am annoyed by this. Although our degrees are supposed to train us for our future careers, our careers should be based more on what we love and are passionate about instead of the degree that will earn you the most money. I feel like the poem “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” shows this pretty well because he enjoys what he is doing yet the lumberjacks see it as a job and a means to an end. Yes, we need money to survive but I feel as though in today’s day and age money is what drives people instead of passion.

Passion is something I saw in all of my “workaholic” family members. My grandpa worked every day he could until he was bed ridden. He didn’t even have to show up at our store but often times you’d find him stocking shelves because he truly loved his store and his work. This poem reminded me greatly of my Grandpa George and the love he had for his work and how he used to tell me “Alex, just do what you love.”

IMG_3060 I think the best thing you can do for yourself is to follow your heart and your passions. Which is what I will be doing this following semester. This whole summer I have been slightly anxious for the year to come since I had nothing set up for the next semester career wise, yet when I relaxed and gave it God I was brought three different internship offers. Although I will need to figure out the kinks this coming semester I could not be happier to have received these opportunities.

My Two Eyes Make One In Sight

This week I was asked to look at the poem Two Tramps In Mud Time by Robert Frost and reflect on my time spent in Washington DC. The message of this piece is clear, love what you do for work and make sure that your job mirrors your personal hobbies. The poem leads the the reader through a scenario where the narrator is chopping blocks of wood in the middle of a forest. He takes 5 stanzas to describe the nature and the surrounding environment with fervorous detail outlining the weather, pond, change of seasons, and animal life. To me this much detail is used to express the love and passion that the narrator has for his hobby of chopping wood in the forest. Below I have left the last two stanzas, which are what I believe to be the most prominent ones. The narrator is describing the difference between what he is doing and what the two strangers are working for.

Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay
And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man’s work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right–agreed.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.

I believe that what Frost is trying to get across at the end of is poem is that there are those who work for the sake of paying bills, and those who work for what they love while also paying the bills.

Growing up and going through college at ASU I have very much so had a struggle with studying what I love, and I would say that I had to learn the hard way. My freshman year I decided to major in Civil (Environmental) Engineering, which needless to say is a huge difference from Political Science, Anthropology, and Economics. I was about halfway through my freshman year when I started having doubts about loving and being interested in engineering. My passion for politics had always been known by my parents and siblings from a young age and all of them were shocked when I went off to study engineering. It wasn’t until I spoke with my older sister that I realized I needed to follow a pathway that I loved and knew I wouldn’t lose interest in. She respected my choice to tackle engineering but genuinely wondered why I had chosen something other than the liberal arts to study. I decided right there that I would finish my year in engineering to see if my interests would change, but I knew deep down that I wanted to study political science. Eventually I changed my major in the spring of my freshman year and my decisions since then have led me to where I am today. Being one of the 20 people to represent ASU on a national level, from a university of 80,000 people, is truly remarkable and humbling. I’ve loved my time spent in the nation’s capital and I can’t wait to see where studying my interests will take me.

I’ll leave you with a picture of me at the Pentagon this past week with the other interns from the College of International Security Affairs.


Ayyy Mu$t Be the Monay

How do you balance the desire for a rewarding career with one that actually pays you well? Which do you place a higher value on? I dunno man, I’m 21. I still don’t even know how I’m getting to BWI this Sunday, let alone how to answer an impossible question about a fundamental part of life.

While this trip has been amazing and eye-opening in so many ways, I think we can all agree that there’s always been a looming pressure to know exactly what we’re doing after this and how we’re going to do it. And I’ve come to a realization in my time here. I don’t know where I’m going to end up a year from now, I don’t know what I’ll be doing when I’m there, and right now there’s nothing I can do about that. Someone recently told me that I need to let myself enjoy things more and that stressing about them doesn’t help, but just makes it worse and brings you down. I can’t make grad school decisions come any faster, I can’t apply for full-time jobs or graduation right now, so I just need to love what I’m doing in this moment. In this way Frost’s Two Tramps in Mud Time spoke to me; I empathize with the narrator. We can’t spend all of our time thinking about the monetization of our skills, that’s no way to live. While there is certainly a need for balance between love for our work and need for compensation, sometimes you’ve just gotta chop wood for fun. If you spend all your time worried about the business of life and not about enjoying it, you’re never going to make it out alive.

Nothing on either side was said. 
They knew they had but to stay their stay 
And all their logic would fill my head: 
As that I had no right to play 
With what was another man’s work for gain. 
My right might be love but theirs was need. 
And where the two exist in twain 
Theirs was the better right–agreed.

In the poem two men wish to take the narrator’s job, thinking the narrator has no right to do for fun what they do for a living. As Frost says, when the two issues come head to head it is clear which is always going to win. I view this as a fundamental flaw in society, that need for compensation wins out over need for love. I understand this is naive, obviously there are physical needs that must be met before emotional needs can be. But shut up, this is my blog post. I don’t come to your blog and tell you how to think.

I love a great many things, as we all do. It’s just too easy to get caught up in everything and forget how to truly enjoy what we love. Forget the tramps, you keep chopping that wood yourself and loving it. Today I’ve really gotten back to my love of ridiculous snapchats instead of being productive, as my 7 part series ‘Awful Cops’ proves. I truly hope every single one of us finds a career that allows us to live whatever kind of life we want, just don’t forget to chop some wood on the way.


Although we’ve come to the end of the road …


When I started this Capitol Scholars journey in November, I had no intentions of being where I am today. I was told that the program was very competitive and so many people had already applied and hearing that made me not even want to apply anymore all together and I wouldn’t have had it not been for my sister pushing me to do it. From the interview for Capitol Scholars to the mile long list of places I applied to, feelings that I was inadequate to be successful in this experience filled my mind. So much so, I considered many times dropping from the program. I think the poem, Two Tramps in Mud Time, has a lot of similarity to my struggles through this journey and with finding inner peace and if you don’t mind, I’d love  to give you my rendition.

For me, my two “strangers” coming out of the mud is complacency and uncertainty. Uncertainty would have hailed cheerily “Hit them hard!” because I typically will learn something and continue working on the same thing until it is pretty much perfected and when life “yells” at me, I sometimes get off track of my goals.  Uncertainty also creeps behind watching complacency in my life, always trying to push through and get complacency’s job.

Day after day, my blocks of oak, work and school, lay in front me as I go through the same routine, completing what sometimes seems as if they are mundane tasks but I know that I can do them without fault or in this case splinter. Knowing, planning, and living by calendars and planners gives me a sense of self-control over my life especially with the hectic schedule I’d made for myself. Completing school in three years and still maintaining a job that’d support the lifestyle I got accustom to know has taken a toll on me mentally, physically, and spiritually in the past three years. I often times tell people that I’m always so consumed with these two things that I could barely think for myself. I’d let myself go and a part of my soul I guess you could say all for this “unimportant wood”. For so long, I’d stuck to this same routine that my days would kind of just run together to the point I feel like I blinked and now here I am, graduated and having to participate in adulthood.

Throughout my years, I have had many opportunities that I have been blessed with and to me these opportunities represent the beauty of the bluebird Frost described. Although I’m very thankful for the opportunities such as this program and being able to study abroad, the darkness and coldness of life has still hit me. When things are going good in my life, the “summertime” is a beautiful thing but it never seems to fail for the “winter” to creep back into my life and knock me down. Thankfully, I have a strong support system around me that supports whatever I do wholeheartedly, making it bearable to pick myself back up and be even greater each time. Both the summer and winter seasons in my life is preparing me for the blossom that is yet to come.

My experience with Capital scholars and being here in D.C. is very well explained in the last four stanzas of this poem as I thought that the experience couldn’t be that bad because I’ve always been good at “real jobs” I’d had; however, with this program being a political science background, I knew (or at least figured) that my every move would be judged. From my internship to the group, I was overwhelmed with if I would look and talk the part, if my educational backgrounds would suffice, and let’s not even mention the whole “Who’s office do you work for?” stigmas here on the Hill. With seven interns in my office, I felt constant pressure that I had to be the best at all times but the pressure was almost invigorating and made me want to work even harder and be even better personally.

My two tramps, uncertainty and complacency, have both been seen in my time here. Through my internship, I got challenge but remained in a comfortable environment to unwind in my part-time serving job. Uncertainty has also crept up in the fact that although I’m new to the city, there is vibes of familiarity here- busy yet convenient, bustling with the privacy of smaller towns just a quick commute away, and diversity. I’ve made friends here, gotten to know locals, explored the parts of the city tourists wouldn’t dare go and in a way has made me fall in love. Getting out of a relationship recently, I thought I’d be heartbroken but being here has actually helped give me time to fall in love with not only the city but remember my love for myself spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally.  It has helped me gain understanding and given me assurance that sometimes you have to step out of what you know to become who I am destined to be and that I sometimes need to take time for myself and love myself no matter how busy life may get. I cannot wait to see where life takes me from here. It is only the beginning.

“But yield who will to their separation,

My object in living is to unite

My avocation and my vocation

As my two eyes make one in sight.

Only where love and need are one,

And the work is play for mortal stakes,

Is the deed ever really done

For heaven and the future’s sakes.”

Where Love and Need are One

Two Tramps in Mud Time is a symbolic poem about career, passion, money, fulfillment, and choice. This poem speaks to an inner dilemma I have faced in my hopes for the future all of my life. From being eight-years-old and dreaming of making a career as a dancer, to being a preteen hoping to one day become an Olympic athlete, to high school when I became passionate about theatre, to my college years in which I have found my calling in academia and women and gender studies, I have always struggled to find the balance between choosing a profitable occupation and a career that inspires fulfillment. I also know this is a familiar challenge for most adults. For example, although my parents have both been able to successfully provide for my family and my future, they both have told me multiple times growing up that if they could go back in time and make different career choices they would—purely for the sake of their personal fulfillment.

With their guidance in mind, I have remained passionate in my young adult life about not letting money dictate my career choices. When choosing my degree programs at ASU, I briefly felt nervous about selecting liberal arts degrees as opposed to something in the business school. My older brother, who is genuinely talented and passionate about supply chain management, has already entered the work force with a business degree and an impressive beginning salary. As the younger sibling following in his footsteps, I wondered if it would be wiser for me to also choose a business degree so that I could prepare myself for the same kind of financial stability that my brother has secured for himself. However, I concluded that that was not a fair comparison for me to make. It was not fair or correct because my brother and I are very different people with different interests and passions. Different fields of work inspire us in different ways, and Brad is fortunate to have found his calling in a line of work that happens to pay its employees generously. Upon accepting this conclusion in my mind, I confidently took on concurrent degrees in Political Science and Global Studies and a certificate in Women and Gender Studies because I am passionate about these topics and the impact they have on our global community. They undoubtedly give me a sense of personal fulfillment.

Additionally, in my sophomore year at ASU, I realized more specifically that my career calling is in academia as a researcher and university professor. Regardless of the money involved in such occupations, this career path invigorates me. When I am in the classroom listening and learning from my favorite professors, I can’t help but dream of being able to educate others in the same fashion one day. Just as the lumberjack in the poem is inspired by being alone with nature, I feel inspired by literature, research, interactive dialogue, and critical thinking. Also like the lumberjack, even if being an educator was purely a volunteer position with zero pay attached to it, it would still be my passion and my career calling. Given this, I am grateful for my experiences here in Washington, D.C. interning at National Defense University. Conducting my research for the College of International Security Affairs has only proven to me what I already knew—that I genuinely love learning, and quite simply, I want a career as a perpetual student. Working so closely with inspiring female professors in a male-dominated workplace creating gender-inclusive course syllabi gave me a great sense of inner fulfillment. The research did not feel like “work” because I knew every minute of it was working toward an initiative that I deem important—creating a more aware and gender-inclusive Department of Defense environment. I believe higher military education has improvements to make in teaching U.S. and international military officers about the necessity of gender equality and female engagement. I feel fortunate to have been able to contribute to this effort with my internship, and I feel optimistic that I will have many more opportunities in the future to find utility and fulfillment in my line of work—because for me, “love and need are one” in the field of academia.



Time Passed is Time Gained


It is my last week here in D.C. and it was such a great experience. Two months have flown by, filled with activities, sights, experiences, and wonderful people. I have explored the city, made friends, established connections, and grown as a person. Interning in Congress has been an amazing learning opportunity and an important decision making experience regarding my future. Now that my time in D.C. is coming to an end, I have been reflecting and the poem, Two Tramps in Mud Time helps explains what has crossed my mind

The poem, Two Tramps in Mud Time, describes the author splitting wood for his own enjoyment.  He explains how it is most appealing after the winter, yet he would love it no matter the season. His poem explains how he feels holding the ax and the extra pleasure he receives from the weather. However, he feels as though it is not his right to perform this duty that he loves as others require it to make a living. These people would intimidate him and make him feel as though he were not good enough. He understands his love of the task but feels he is not allowed to perform it and begins to doubt his abilities. He states that their reason for cutting wood was more important than his own and believes the perfect task would involve one where love and need coexist.

Through my experience here in D.C., I have learned how this relates to me. I have discovered myself and explored what I want to do. I have learned what I would enjoy and what would be tedious. As the author of the poem describes, I would like to work somewhere I could enjoy myself. Where getting paid was a bonus toward doing what I love. Interning in D.C. has helped me realize what I want from my career rather than what I can offer a career. I have learned about my habits and the lifestyle I would enjoy. I have learned about my work habits and the enjoyment I can take from every day. If I were to be paid for doing something I enjoyed, it would be where love and necessity coexist. This is what I want for my future. All the experiences I have had as an intern have shown me a possible scenario of a working life. As the author of Two Tramps in Mud Time would say, “only where love and need are one, and the work is play for mortal stakes, is the deed ever really done.”

Two months are now coming to an end. I have learned so much about myself and obtained an experience that I will never regret. I would recommend Capitol Scholars to anyone interesting in politics or policy. I found it a wonderful opportunity to explore a career in politics. This was something I was unsure about. I could not decide if this is the career path I should be pursuing. I feared the idea of hating my career in the future and going on endlessly because of the major chose in school. After interning for Congressman Trent Franks I can be sure of the path I am taking in obtaining my degree at Arizona State University. In addition, this program has helped me grow as a person. I have learned I can take care of myself in a new unknown area. I have learned about what I need verse what I want. I have even accepted that I am growing up and enjoy acting like it. D.C. will be missed, but I am ready to take the next step in life and enjoy every second of it.