Category Archives: Personal Essay

Rocks, Roots, and Graduation

As of today, I am two thirds of the way through the Oracle Corporation interview process for a position as a sales associate. While my potential career as a sales associate at one of the largest tech companies in the world might be a topical subject to write about for this project, I’m not even sure I want to be a salesman forever. Although the near future is starting to take shape for me, the rest of my future remains open. While I’m still uncertain about my career, I know exactly where I’d like to go to escape from whatever it is: mountains. Rocky trailed terrain dotted with trees and ferns provides the perfect space for recreational exercise, conveys a sense of both sheer beauty and humility, exercises important skills learned within my major, and provides at least one aspect of my future that remains certain.

A jagged, fifty five-degree incline with nothing to hold on to but loose rocks and roots jettisoning out of cracks in the cliff face is staring deep into my eyes. Small insects crawl with ease up and around the exposed bark etched within the rocks. It’s tempting me to scale it but also daring; the rocky facade is a challenge demanding my focus and full appreciation. A single wrong step could spell a snapped ankle and a long way back down the trail in agony with feelings of failure draped over my shoulders. The right steps will lead to triumph and satisfaction.

Mount Monadnock’s rocky peak.

Although I am in no way an extremely experienced climber, I have come across several scenarios just like this on my hikes. It’s taxing. It’s tiresome. It’s hard work and there’s always a lot of sweat involved. As a scrawny-armed kid who hated putting on a weakling dumbbell show in the back of a Planet Fitness, I was often tasked with finding alternative ways to workout. Basketball was always an easy outlet, but it often required being indoors and out of the sun. Being on a challenging mountain trail enables me to stay outdoors and strengthen my body, my knees (they’re the knees of an elderly person), and my mind. It may sound like cliche, ‘namaste’ knock off phrasing, but hiking has always managed to make me sweat and clear my head. It’s also impossible not to get lost in the wonder of the beauty mountains provide.

Ever since I was a young child, I have had a strong fascination with nature. Springs and summers were spent catching bugs in jars and mosquito bites on elbows and not a spring or summer passed without the pair. Fast forward fifteen years, and I remain as infatuated with my environment as I was as a boy. Mountains have a way of displaying their beauty to you in silent, yet attention-demanding ways that only elements of the natural world can.

Breathing heavy after climbing in the hot, late afternoon sun and finally summiting, I look out over the endless space beneath my feet. Newly budded trees sway in the wind sans outstretched leaves beckoning for rays. It’s too early in the season for them. The silence is quiet enough to be noticed, as if there actually was a sound echoing across the landscape. The serenity, though, is interrupted by an audible ‘woosh’ from below. As a wide shadow encompasses the top of a pine, I look down to find it being cast by a bare-headed turkey vulture ominously gliding over the tree line below. To my right, I can see a little chipmunk nibbling on an acorn in the thick, composting brush.

VIew of Norwottuck from the East side of Bare.

  The mountain speaks through seasons as well; winter is silent while creatures sleep and bunker down for the time’s harshness. It is better to be fat, warm, and asleep than skinny, cold, and outside. The spring is quite noisy, bustling even, with waking and newly emerged life. The transition is impossible to miss. As the year goes on, spring turns to summer and there appears to be a steadiness to the environment; the leaves are fully bloomed and animal life is in full swing. Lastly, fall is a time for preparation for all creatures. The trees lose their leaves, the birds fly south, and the animals collect and store food. Those who don’t spend a lot of time on the trail may not pick up on things so minor, but my experience as an English major has encouraged observational skills.

I’m traveling down the side of the mountain after an exhausting afternoon of digging my boots into the soil to pry myself up. Downhill is easier but it is not easy. I have stop to rest and have a drink of water when my hand grazes across a most peculiar bark pattern smooth as the surface of a rock worn by the sea. I almost don’t notice it, but I do. I let my fingertips remain there, as if somehow transcending the tree’s natural life force with my own. A feeling of appreciation and oneness washes over me, if only for a moment. I am nature and nature is me.

For centuries, fiction writers and artists have gone though periods where they’ve been infatuated with the world around them, particularly during the rise of romanticism (Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above The Sea Of Fog). These writers and artists all displayed works that demanded readers notice and appreciate details both large and small. Reading closely, a skill mainly attributed to being able to break down small passages and understand their meanings on the most minute of levels, has transitioned rather surprisingly into a keen eye. Interestingly enough, some of the most inspiring and thought provoking parts of nature can also be the smallest and most difficult to notice. The same can be said about literature.

My boss just told me that I suck at my job. I know I don’t suck, but I sure feel like I do now. What is wrong with me? I really am struggling to find answers lately. This feels like a dead end. I don’t know what I want to do or how to make myself happy.

English as a major has also encouraged me to work through details logically and critically to arrive at answers. Critically thinking about literary works, their meanings, and their purposes has provided me with a skill that transitions into my own life on both a professional and personal level. Sometimes all it takes to work through any bumps in the road is to step outside of the world I live in and into the woods.

Because of its therapeutic qualities and my unabated love for the natural world, hiking has become an irreplaceable part of who I am and what I care about. However, I haven’t climbed enough summits and I’m itching to see more. I live near two mountains, Norwottuck and Bare, that are very easy to get to, and I find myself returning to them frequently out of plain convenience. Unfortunately, the proximity of these peaks will be short lived because I will be moving away from Amherst in the next few weeks following graduation. While my easy access to mountains may disappear, I am still planning several big hikes for the coming summer months that could prove to be my most challenging.

I’ve never even heard of Lanesborough, Massachusetts, but now I’m floating over it like some sort of Greek myth ruling over his people. For a second, I think to myself, ‘That’s pretty pretentious.” But it isn’t. I just climbed 3,491 feet in terrain I’ve never experienced before and I did it before the sun went down. I can compare myself to a myth if I want to. My hiking partner can consider herself a mythological goddess as well.

Peak of Mount Monadnock (3,166 feet).

Mount Greylock is the tallest point in Massachusetts, maxing out at 3,491 feet. It is an enormous climb in comparison to some of the hikes I’ve taken in the past and will serve to be quite the challenge. Other peaks I’d like to conquer are Foot Spruce Hill at 2,566 feet and Wachusett Mountain at 2,006 feet. If my skills improve and my drive remains, I’d like to transition to longer hikes that involve camping. The Appalachian Trail takes months to hike in its entirety, but I’d at least like to hike sections of it for certain periods of time.

Managing one’s sanity is important to maintain to a stable existence as well as an enjoyable one. While other methods can serve to keep me grounded, nothing has become as important as vertical walks in the woods. The mountain has become a theatre for me to work through my problems, a gym to exercise in, and a future ready to be conquered. Its beauty, no matter which mountain, is unquestionable, my infatuation with it undeniable. I know that mountains will be a piece of my existence for as long as I live.

Crystal Ball Cramming

The fourth project’s title, ‘Community,’ prompted me to think of aspects of my future that I had never stopped to considered. Rather than seeing the future as the completion of goals like graduating or landing a first job, I began seeing it in terms of self-immersion; pondering where I want to be, what I want to do in that space, and what I see myself being a part of within that space. I can’t write one thousand words about the dream job I have for myself because I don’t know what that dream job is just yet. I haven’t done enough to know what I love and what I hate. I can, however, delve into the different types of  social, regional, and workplace communities that I know I would be comfortable belonging to as I transition into my post graduate life.

As I looked forward and brainstormed for this assignment, I identified myself as a very social individual, leading me to consider the interpersonal communities I might find myself in that aren’t necessarily located in professional work settings. These types of communities are all centered around the mingling of individuals, or socialization. Obviously, it would be best to belong to a social community that you enjoy being a part of. Since the young age of four, I have possessed a tremendous infatuation with the sport of basketball, so it makes sense to have a desire to remain involved with the game. I picked one up in the driveway, started shooting, and never stopped. I don’t think I ever will. It’s a game that provides both a valuable means of exercise and peer to peer interaction. The camaraderie teammates feel for each other on the basketball court and the leadership roles varying from game to game fill the sport with a variety of skills that are transferrable into the workplace as well. Lastly, and most important, basketball is essentially a universal game. It is played everywhere across the country, so I know that I’ll always have a men’s league to join no matter where I end up in life.

In addition to befriending local basketball talent, I’d also like to become involved in politics, at least, at the local level. Due to the principles I lead my life by, I have a very strong interest in the direction of the Democratic party moving forward. It is a party that has had its spirit come very close to breaking in recent months due to the abysmal election outcomes in November. For lack of a better word, it appears to be a party in disarray who does not yet understand its true identity, its true base, and what it can do for that base. To do that, I think it must reestablish itself on the lower grass roots level in order to encourage constituents to help create action and become active participants in the political process. This includes voting AND volunteering personal time. It isn’t enough to just vote. Voting is a civic duty action and should be performed anyways. To galvanize Democrats, I’d like to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a representative for the State Democratic Convention. This role is meant to facilitate the relationship between government officials and the constituents they are expected to represent. The position makes him responsible for the way the town of Norton votes at the convention, and I can see myself occupying a similar role within the party even if I end up living in a more conservative part of the country.

Playing on basketball teams and participating in the proceedings of the Democratic party are both positively charged communities that will help me develop into an even more strong-charactered individual, and they are two communities that I am certain I will be a a part of some day- I can imagine myself as a forty-five year old man with knees half as good as they used to be. I can’t dunk anymore but I can still get off the ground to block shots and shoot over defenders whose knees are even worse off and elderly than mine. I walk up the court, not jog. Most men my age don’t need chasing anyways. Then, I catch the ball in the corner, shoot a three, and it swishes. I turn to the defender and say, “I helped make our schools look better.” How’s that for trash talk?

Although I love Massachusetts and could see myself being a part of its communities, I also have a slight interest in experiencing what it’s like to be an outsider working and developing in a foreign environment. There’s something about being placed in a world of uncertainty that I believe creates an opportunity to discover untapped skills or interests. I, unlike my sister and many of my friends, chose not to study abroad in college because I was fortunate enough to travel overseas in high school on more than one occasion. However, studying in a place and immersing yourself in its culture are two entirely different things. Large sections of California and Burlington, Vermont also interest me because of the progressive values; I once walked down Church Street with a group of friends accompanied by a one hundred and fifty pound New Foundland. We stopped at a jewelry store and I thought, ‘there’s no way they’re going to let this dog in here.‘ Soon enough the owner of the shop comes over to give the dog a treat and bowl of water. I was stunned. I had never been in a place that was so welcoming and accepting of animals. I feel that I share many of those values and am interested to see if becoming a part of a community like that could contribute to my growth as a person.

While I have a decent idea of where I’d like to work, I still am not exactly sure of what job I’d like to have within those regional communities. However, I have given thought to the type of workplace environment I would like that unknown dream job to be in. First, I would like to work in some sort of open floor plan setting. I am a very social person. Therefore, I’d like to work in a “social” environment. I use the term social lightly because while I want face to face communication with my peers, I recognize that work is work and not a time intended for chatter. The face to face layout would encourage direct contact rather than long, impersonal email chains that make employees feel like numbers instead of people. I want to avoid that scenario at all costs. I also think that this type of floor plan would be, depending on the job, conducive to friendly competition that blends nicely with team work, similar to a basketball game. Also, an environment like this would be conducive to my belief in the grass roots system; building relationships with people is the most effective route to change, and teamwork/friendly competition enhances those relationships. Competition is something that can easily be used to propel a business forward as well, and I’d like to be in a system that utilizes that idea.

Although I still consider myself to be young, inexperienced, and incapable of deciding what career I’d like to occupy for the next decade, I am self-aware to understand where I fit in and what I would like to contribute to the communities I see myself being a part of. Adulthood isn’t that far away, making the need for future-gazing urgent and necessary. I hope that by playing basketball and contributing to my town’s Democratic party, I can lead a life that I’m proud to call my own in a place that I’m proud to call home.

The Blacksheep

If I asked a group of random Americans to list the least practical college majors for earning money, English is one that would appear on a large number of those lists. For many, English is seen as a subject of academia. The perception is that its students often read outdated books, analyze them critically, and then turn their observations into analytical essays. When I transitioned from a journalism student to an English student, I had the preconceived notion that the major would be a bit of a drag as well. I wasn’t sure how useful it would be either. I was uncertain about what I would become and how I would incorporate the knowledge I was going to gain into my life.

By the end of of my junior year, I still hadn’t found something I felt passionate about. Maybe I should have gone into business. Do English majors even make money? Is money important? I had been in the English for two years already. These were doubts I should have dealt with before I declared. There was no turning back. By May of my Junior year, I was seriously doubting my decision, but a friend of mine and fellow English major thought I might be interested in writing for The Blacksheep Online. I had never heard of it. It’s basically a platform you can use to poke fun of things on campus. As both a cynic and self-proclaimed class clown, I was sold on the idea of spreading my humorous opinions across the campus. After being brought aboard, I quickly learned that The Blacksheep was a much larger organization than I thought. The satirical online magazine is focused on reaching students on campuses across the country using a variety of engaging and humorous content. There are dozens of campus chapters, with UMass being just one of over one hundred. From there, I started to write articles that put a pin on everything from the number of New Yorkers attending a Massachusetts state school to our undeniable love for all things pumpkin spice.

I learned very quickly that writing as a job is not as simple as showing up to work and punching a time card. As a staff writer, I am expected to pitch three developed ideas to my editor per week. The ideas were supposed to be focusing on their relevancy to events going on in the world during a particular week. Most of the time, the pitches are successful and the editor tells me to work with the one I’m most passionate about. Other times, I receive an email telling me my ideas are all terrible and I have to send three new ones. It can be difficult to be told that something you think is clever might actually be stupid, but the job can’t be handled if negative feedback isn’t accepted. In turn, my failures became successes because I learned and improved upon them. It’s not always the editor who criticizes my work either. I have received negative responses on some material from students who were offended or failed to see humor in the material. Posting my work publicly and allowing it to develop a life of its own in the World Wide Web has forced me to let go of any sense of ego. I have to brush aside negativity and keep writing.

The Blacksheep originally reminded me that the skills I gained in English were applicable to real work, but my experience with the publication has also given me a number of skills that I wouldn’t otherwise have. For instance, schools will often teach subjects in a way that makes them mutually exclusive from one another. As a staff writer, I began to have to blend skills together in a cohesive way to form a singular result rather than exercise just one skill at a time. My humor had to drive my writing, but my writing had to be clear and easily understood at the same time. Otherwise, the satirical element of the piece would flop, leaving readers confused. More importantly, The Blacksheep has given me an opportunity to think outside the box in a way that feels meaningful. My stories would not exist if I couldn’t observe my surroundings and think of them in funny, outrageous contexts. Massachusetts taxpayers fund this university, but there are more out of state students than in-state. Hmmm. It’s a skill that not many people exercise regularly or successfully, and I am proud to consider myself proficient in it now. Eventually, a similar thought chain led me to mislead people into believing that Umass had changed its name to SUNY Massachusetts. It was one of the most popular articles of the week.

As I practiced these skills more and more with each new article, I noticed an improvement in both my writing (in the satirical, news article style) and my humor. I truly felt that my experience was making me a better person and an even better job candidate. Although I was not receiving pay or academic credit, the job was still important to me because I was benefiting from it. I started to legitimately achieve accolades within the company. After just four weeks of writing for the Umass page, I received an email from the national page editor praising the work I had done so far and asking me if I wanted to join the national staff. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to increase my work’s exposure, so I accepted and started writing for the front page of the website twice a month.

Writing for the national page solidified my love for The Blacksheep. My experience with a platform allowed me to focus on political commentary because the articles are meant to be reactionary; they are supposed to comment on things happening in the news. As a political science minor, I was already interested in current events and read the news every single day. I was promoted during a major boom in satirical content driven largely by the current presidential administration’s incompetence.   Both the national page’s popular subject matter and (hopefully) my content have given me a serious boost in viewership that my Umass Blacksheep peers have not received. As of last week, I have gained over 69,000 views in just seven months of writing for the publication and I have been featured in the staff’s weekly Power Rankings. My goal is to reach 100,000 page views by the end of the semester and I’m getting closer by the day.

My short time with The Blacksheep has really got me thinking about my career options. Writing is something that I would really like to incorporate into my life moving forward, but I have other skills that could just as easily be utilized. As a self-proclaimed conversationalist, I feel like my gift of gab would transition into a cushy sales job that pays really well. Do I really want to be trapped in a cubicle forever? As time passes and finances become more of a pressing issue, I’ll have to decide if my love for writing is important enough to trump my love for living well.

I never saw myself as someone whose work would reach the eyes of thousands of people. Every paper I’ve ever handed in has been glanced over by a couple of my peers and looked at for mistakes by my teachers. The reward was usually a grade I’d receive two weeks later. It felt unimportant. Pointless. I don’t feel that way anymore. The work I am producing is being produced for the enjoyment of others instead of a grade. Knowing that some people are laughing at a joke that came from my head is a thrilling experience. It’s a feeling of honest validation that I wouldn’t grasp if I was doing some other activity like a sport or art. Maybe English hadn’t been such a bad choice. It led me here, to these crossroads.

Riding The Wave

The English major is comprised of a very broad course load, making it a broad subject in the Humanities and Fine Arts field. During my time as an English major, I have obtained an array of distinct skill sets ranging from writing to reading skills. The variety of my skill sets, for better or worse, offers several different career paths, making choosing one difficult. However, because I set goals for myself upon declaring the major, my confidence has grown each time I reached one of those bench marks. Now that I have reached the end of my tenure as a University of Massachusetts English major, I think it is important to look back and reflect on the strengths I have obtained from the major, weaknesses I still need to work on, and what worked well when achieving the goals I had set for myself at the very beginning.

Like with any task that lies ahead, it is often beneficial to set small, reachable goals to gage progress. When I arrived here as a freshmen, I entered college as a declared journalism major. My main goals were to develop better writing skills and engage with audiences through the work I produced. The only issue was that being nosy is in a journalists nature, and I just didn’t have the drive to dig for dirt. I wanted to create my own stories rather than meddle in other peoples’ business and try to relay stories that already existed. So, after one semester, I switched to English.

I entered the English major with slightly different goals in mind. Rather than focus on one single medium of writing like the content one might find in news articles, I wanted to spend my time increasing both reading and writing skills across several different mediums. I felt that English as a major would give me the knowledge to properly read materials, break them down, and write analytical papers in response. I also wanted to obtain a creative writing certificate because of my natural ability to think outside of the box. Obtaining the certificate was my main goal as an English major because the pathway it put me on asked me to think outside of the box to create works of poetry and prose. English 355 gave me the opportunity to draft ideas, develop characters and plot, and cohesively organize those things into a complete short story. I wanted to then parlay these creative skills into the exciting world of blogging, which eventually led me to begin writing satire for the online magazine, The Blacksheep. Lastly, I wanted to reach new levels of empathy for the human condition through reading realistic fiction stories like Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih. The goals I set and the successes derived from those goals granted me a valuable skill set that I will have for the rest of my professional career.

During my time as an English major and, in particular, a creative writing student, I gained several strengths that separate me from non-English major job candidates. The concentration, which consisted of 5 courses rooted in either prose writing or poetry, enabled me to explore new ideas in a very welcoming and engaging environment. These classes were most often comprised of a small group of other English majors looking to acquire similar skills. Because the classes were workshop based, students would critique each other’s work by engaging in a group discussion meant to point out highlights, criticisms, and suggestions from peers for subsequent revisions. While these courses allowed me to hone my writing ability in an open setting, the atmosphere of these courses provided me with an impeccable listening ability as well. It was my job as a critic to provide my own insight based on the responses I heard from my peers and the content I read.

In addition to gaining creative thinking skills and skills involving group interaction, I have learned valuable techniques to assist me with the close reading of articles, documents, and prose. English courses will often require several books be read during a semester, and each one of them is studied carefully to ensure students understand both its content and its context. Close-reading is one of those skills. I learned that it can be valuable to take a short passage from a book or a play and break it down line by line. Shakespeare’s work taught me this lesson more than anything else. As a whole, his plays can sometimes be easy to get lost in. Paragraph by paragraph, it is easier to see what direction the plot is going and who is speaking to whom. Dissecting paragraphs line by line can be a great tool when reading difficult works, which we often did within the major. I think close reading is a valuable asset for any career, because it allows one to think before acting on presumptions.

While close reading turned out to be one of my strengths, it was originally one of my weaknesses. English 200 with Professor Gallo was made up of solely close reading papers. The papers were expected to be short, concise and to the point. But I couldn’t do it. I received Ds and Cs on three papers in a row, which were letters I had never seen before on any assignment, ever. Rather than receive a failing grade in a required course, I decided it would be best to meet with the teacher. Following an abysmal first month of a semester, I started writing my weekly papers and bringing them into Professor Gallo’s office for help. He worked with me the entire semester to shorten by syntax and close read the way English majors were expected to. If it weren’t for him and his constant help, I may have switched majors again and failed at being a close reader.

In addition to close reading and writing, we almost always finished books that were assigned in their entirety. The literature we read often included some elements of the human experience. Reading from the perspective of someone under colonial oppression in a Post-Colonial Studies course, just to name an example, opened my eyes to the struggles and plight people from all over the world are forced to deal with. I can confidently say that the compassion I gained during my time in the major has turned me into a much more well-rounded individual who cares about the circumstances of his peers and strangers alike.

While my major choice has allowed me to improve my writing, listening, and communication skills, it has also forced me to neglect some skills as well. Every major is a specific focus on a certain set of skills used to reach success within the given field so, naturally, other skills not necessary or taught within the field often get left by the wayside and forgotten. For instance, as previously mentioned English has given me very valuable communication skills that STEM majors might not get in their course loads. However, their circumstances may have allowed them to focus on other skill sets that I don’t have, such as office computer skills. Granted, that is the nature of both majors and I am aware that I bring other things to the table.

My journey within the English major has been an up and down journey filled with triumphs and failures, strengths and weaknesses, and learning and growing. I feel that the work I have done within the course load has helped mold me into a serviceable job candidate with exceptional oral and written communication skills. The major has provided me a new perspective on the human experience as well; not everybody has it so good. If taking the time to reflect on my experience as an English student has taught me anything, it is that switching out of a major that I hated into something I loved was the best decision I could have made for myself.

Changing Spaces

My fellow staff members and I after organizing a stumping event.

By the time most students reach their junior in college, they will have already figured out what field they are interested in entering following graduation day. Some will go on to grad school to study law and eventually serve justice in the circuit courts while others will go to medical school and go on to take care of the rest of us. They do those things because they know them and because they are certain of the skills necessary to excel at those types of jobs. Unfortunately, not everyone is so certain of the skills they possess and what to do with them. By the end of my junior year, I had learned quite a bit about myself (I’m an avid current events nut), the things I liked (the political sphere), and the things that I was relatively good at (writing and verbally communicating with anyone). The increase in self-awareness I underwent, however, did nothing to steer me down a set path for my future because I was still feeling uncertainties. I really wanted to use my personality to get involved in the political world in some capacity. I didn’t exactly know how, but I knew that I had to get my foot in the door somehow.

Finding an internship for the then upcoming summer internship period proved to be a struggle for me. I applied to ten places and didn’t hear back from several. A couple of rejection conversations were had as well. I decided it would be best to at least get one of those intermittent summer jobs and look for a fall internship instead. So, rather than pushing pencils in the Boston financial district throughout the dog days of summer, I was dropping bread into a toaster and making chicken fingers for hungry customers in the back of a greasy kitchen at Mansfield’s neighborhood Cafe on the Common. I was a fry cook who didn’t wish to remain one, although I would for the duration of the break.

As a registered Democrat, my values, particularly my social values, align greatly with the values of the party, such as affordable housing and affordable college. As a crazy Huffington Post liberal, Senator Warren is as close to a celebrity as you can find within the political community, particularly amongst those that label themselves as progressives. In May of 2016, I was on the hunt for internships and decided civil service might be a good fit for me, so I aimed high and sent an email along with my resume and the first cover letter I had ever written expressing interest to Senator Warren’s internship coordinator. Ironically, I forgot about sending it in completely until I got an email asking to finish the online portion of the application one week before the deadline. I finished it on time.

In the middle of a hot August Wednesday inside a kitchen that felt like the equator, I received a phone call from a United States Senator’s office. I was wearing a smelly apron and non-slip shoes; far from the suit and tie a Senator would wear to work, and yet my phone had a voicemail on it asking me to come to the Senator’s office for an interview because I had been chosen as a candidate.

My grandmother had passed away not six months prior to the interview, so I already had just been fitted for a new suit. The suit was made up of a charcoal pair of slacks, a charcoal blazer, a blue shirt, a striped tie, and black dress shoes that made me feel like I belonged as I showed the man at the front desk my security credentials like I owned the place. You know what they say: “Look good feel good.” I certainly felt both.

Once in the office, I shook hands with the director of the program and her immediate boss, who was sitting in the office I was being interviewed in. As someone with no political experience other than my minor courses and personal research, I knew that the only way to land this job was to make them like me as an individual and not a political expert. I treated the interview like a conversation one might have with an old friend. I tend to not be too reserved once my mouth starts moving and the interview went on from there. After twenty minutes and only a few questions with long answers, we stood to shake hands over the table in the office. I don’t know how, but I knew I got the job when I shut the door. I was so sure that I called my parents to tell them.

Four weeks after the interview, all of the interns from both the Boston and Springfield offices met up for a mandatory internship orientation. There, we learned about what duties we would be expected to perform, as well as the character we were to exemplify as employees of such an influential person. It was, of course, exciting to begin the process, but the presentations were long, drawn out power points filled with logistical content that would lull even the most excitable and optimistic individual to sleep. Fortunately, Senator Warren barged into the conference room to give a brief pep talk outlining her mission. From that moment on, her mission became our mission, and my professional life in politics was off and running.