Two days at the Capitol

February 12, 2016

When I first moved to Austin, my family had to take its obligatory trip to the Texas Capitol building. To my young mind, the exterior itself was a colossal reminder of the ego the Lone Star State exuded, the building itself taller than the nation’s own Capitol by less than twenty feet. Inside, the dome seemed to stretch to infinity, and was lined with the portraits of every man and woman deemed worthy enough to lead this seemingly infinitely large state. Even though this initial impression has been worn by further visits and the ever-trivializing effect of a growing awareness of the world, this landmark continued to hold a certain allure to it that made me excited to return. Therefore, I was very honored to be able to briefly intern at the State Capitol during COOL Week.
When I first started the COOL Week application process, I felt discouraged. My dream career of becoming a diplomat had no real possibility of becoming a reality in Austin. But when Ms. Spradling suggested an internship at the Texas Senate, I was intrigued, and quickly decided to follow up on this opportunity.
My first day started at the Senate’s Sergeant at Arms office, after I had already succeeded in becoming hopelessly lost for a short period of time. I was then lead to the Senate Messenger’s office, where I was to job shadow their employees. Following these workers as they ran documents from an office on one side of the building to another office on the other side, then all the way to another office in another building and all the way back to the Messenger’s office, where they had but minutes until the phone would ring and the whole process would begin anew, I gained a great appreciation for their dedication and pure stamina. I was also able to obtain a large degree of knowledge about the day-to-day functions in the Senate.
The next day was an even greater experience. That day, I was able to learn exactly how a Senate committee functions, and what the Senate messenger’s duties in committee meetings were. They can be intense affairs; I was told several have lasted more than twelve hours (though messengers only serve in shifts of two to three hours). The training ended with our supervisor, Jessica Flynn, putting us through a brief simulation of a committee meeting and having us act out a messenger’s typical duties. After some more job shadowing, a workout in itself, the time had come for me to leave. Though I was upset, I was encouraged by the fact that Ms. Flynn had offered me a position during the summer.
All in all, my COOL Week was a vastly enriching experience. I am now more committed than ever to become a diplomat. If you have any knowledge of the field you would like to work in after graduation, high school or college, I highly suggest you take this opportunity to test the waters. So get out there and see what your dream career is like. It’s only a COOL Week away.

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Johnny Morreale, Writer

Johnny Morreale is a staff writer for the 2015-16 school year Vandegrift Voice newspaper. He is fond of the written word and reads frequently, though not...

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