American University Gap Program student ambassador Connor Woods

Connor Woods

American Politics

October 2, 2018 | I come from Santa Fe, New Mexico. New Mexico is often called the “Land of Manana” meaning the “land of tomorrow”. Everything in New Mexico takes a little longer to get done. Despite being a go-getter in my hometown, in DC I started to realize that my general view of the world was not going to fly, especially on Capitol Hill.

My first full day on the Hill I immediately was thrown into what I then saw as a chaotic environment with a million projects going on. I realized I needed to do some serious work to be seen as an exceptional intern who could handle more than just answering emails and getting coffee. I kicked myself into overdrive and am learning how to work in such a comparatively crazy environment.

I’ve always had some anxiety about answering phones or responding to emails, my first week in the office I answered over four hundred emails. That wasn’t even an isolated incident! We had a backlog of constituent emails, well in the low thousands. Yesterday we had fifty when I left. I am learning agency. I am already more comfortable making phone calls to talk as opposed to texting.

I have also learned to think faster.  I always had a decent amount of time to make decisions, often “sleeping on it” before committing to anything. There isn’t time for that on the Hill. People need answers, and they need them when they ask. Just being in a fast environment has made me able to think quickly through various outcomes before I open my mouth to respond.

I am discovering that the best way to deal with a fast-moving world is to move faster than it is!