"Joining the 2018 Washington legislative sessions intern cohort was an unforgettable experience."
Astrid Serrano, a junior business administration major, served as an intern during the 2018 Washington legislative sessions and worked for Majority Caucus Leader Sen. John McCoy of the 38th district. She wrote about her experience as an intern and what she hopes to do in the future.
I can recall the excitement that rushed from my head to my toes the first time I heard about the legislative internship, when I was a first-year student in a business law class with professor Shawn Newman. My heart raced at the possibility of such an opportunity. It took two years from that initial feeling of excitement to be able to apply; as a requirement, only those with junior and senior standing are eligible for the program.
This past fall, there I was again, with Professor Shawn Newman, now in a civil liberties course, when the intern coordinator came to talk to our class. As I began to write my application essay, I stopped to think about why I wanted this internship. I had been looking forward to being eligible since my first year, and the opportunity was finally available. I realized that all I wanted to be was what I never had growing up. I dreamed of one day being the first Latina woman president, but as I stared at pictures of those previously in office, there was a familiar pattern of faces, ones that did not match my own. It was discouraging and motivating at the same time. It was through my constant civic engagement that I learned that if a system is not meant for someone like me, the only way to change it is to join it.
Joining the 2018 Washington legislative sessions intern cohort was an unforgettable experience. I had the privilege of working for Majority Caucus Leader Sen. John McCoy of the 38th district. My office consistently assigned me with work to reach my academic and personal goals. Through the experience, I was able to gain confidence in my business interactions as well as my writing skills. Additionally, I was able to meet with a variety of individuals, from lobbyists, constituents, senators, Supreme Court justices, to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. As a legislative intern, I received nothing but support and encouragement. Times are changing, and I had the opportunity to have a seat at the table that I never even knew existed.
After finishing the legislative internship and being able to reflect back on the entire experience, I have decided that I want to eventually go into public service. I say eventually because if there is one constant piece of advice I received, it was to go out and live life. Prior to my internship, I had the idea that I had to be successful by a certain age. I had a perfect timeline that needed to be followed religiously in order to reach my idealized version of success. On the contrary, life has its own timeline and in order to achieve the most, one must be flexible.
There are always different opportunities that arise, and to forego a great one to stick to an idea could close the door on an even bigger dream not yet imagined. I was ecstatic when Sen. John McCoy offered me a chance to come back after graduating. I now plan to return to the legislature after graduating to serve as a session aid or legislative assistant. I plan to use the time off school to also study for the LSAT and then attend law school in the fall of 2020. My aspiration is to become an immigration lawyer and maybe even an immigration court judge, to serve communities that deserve the opportunity for a better life. As I plan to return to my home state of California, I hope to serve the 29th congressional district of California someday too. I no longer have a timeline, but rather a collection of goals that I hope to accomplish to help as many people as I can and to be the representation I longed for in my younger years. I thank my internship for leading me in that direction.