The National Mall is centrally located in Washington, DC stretching over 2 miles from the Lincoln Memorial on the west end to the U.S. Capitol on the east end. The mall encompasses and is surrounded by museums, statues, historical landmarks, food trucks, people, animals, the list goes on. I may be the only one that did not know this, but for those who may not, you can play sports in, on, and around the National Mall. Yes, sports. Baseball, softball, soccer, flag football, track & field, wrestling, etc. People get creative. You can go for a jog on the pebble-like track around the grass, make snow or grass angels, take your dog for a walk, or anything you can think of (that is legal, of course). The craziest part about it, is that you can casually walk to a spot and claim your area. Of course, this would be easier to do with a group of people, so let me tell you how to do it if you are new to town.
The Hill is full of young people who love to play sports. Many of the staffers are already involved in something. This season in my office, it is softball. I personally would have never known this if I did not make it a point to strategically implement a conversation in the office to the right people. We work long hours, must commute, network, and typically sports end at dusk. Every office is different, and you may be invited on the first day or not at all if you do not try. Talk to the staff members and tell them what you like to do. If it is a sport that the National Mall physically does not support, such as swimming, they will be able to tell you where to go or who to talk to. If you engage with the staff and it is a failed attempt, casually bring it up to the head honcho in the office, or someone very close to him/her. Who you work for will more than likely be interested in what you do or at least want to leave you with a good impression to send back home. Talk to them, network, and tell them what you are interested in. Sports is an amazing way to get to know people outside of the office, triple your Hill network base, and make friends.
Not interested in sports? The advice still applies. You have an interest. At this point, you should know at the very least that you are interested in policy. Learn the positions of the office staffers and employees. Ask them to go on a coffee break, catch them in the break room, or message them on teams if they seem intimidating or too busy for a chat. Only one person in my office read my resume, which is the same person that hired me. Do not walk into the office and assume people know who you are, what you do, where you go or went to school, what you are interested in, or literally anything about you. If people do not know you, they will treat you as a stranger. If you say you are interested and are given a task on that interest, put your heart and soul into that project. People will start to love to work with you, send you more projects, talk to you more, introduce you more, and again, the list goes on. Work hard, play hard. Everything you do on the Hill will leave an impression with someone. How do you want to be remembered?
Office of Congressman August Pfluger
Washington, D.C. | Summer 2021