Blog: Intern Introspective #4

Capitol rooftoop

A Day-in-the-Life of an HFA Intern:

Greetings from the nation’s capital!

As we reach the halfway point of my internship at HFA, I would say that I have found my rhythm in D.C. Although I have been in the district since late April for a previous internship, the way I prepare for a day in Congress differs from a day at HFA. On most weeks, my work routine begins on Sunday evenings. Sometime after eating dinner, I will check the weather, pick an outfit accordingly, and lay out my outfit of the day. Next comes a quick review of my personal & work calendars. While I might not dive into my inbox just yet, a sneak peek at my calendar certainly helps me know what to expect for the next day. I also coordinate with my fellow intern, Karina about what time we should leave. On most workdays, I will wake up between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. followed by a quick stretch while I think about my intention for the day. While getting ready, I try to stay off my phone except for silencing alarms and double checking the weather. Anywhere from 8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., Karina and I head to the metro, switch a line and before making it to Union Station. During the commute, I listen to podcasts like “Left, Right & Center,” “NYT: The Daily,” or “The NPR Politics Podcast” to help me get up to date on news and get my thoughts going.

During my first hour at the office, I like to check my emails, revise my internship checklist, and start gathering my reading materials for the week. Next, I will make post-it notes of everything I need to do for the day and order it on my cubicle wall based on priority. Depending how far we are into the week I will either start with my readings or begin on my weekly report for the first half of the workday. Some days I have had meetings with various team members at HFA to discuss how I can support them in their roles or to work with them on a project, typically educational or outreach-based work. Although I usually bring lunch, there are days when I may attend a lunch reception on Capitol Hill (usually hosted by non-profits, caucuses, etc.), or I may schedule coffee with a congressional staffer to learn more about their job responsibilities. It is always a fun lunchbreak to hop on a scooter and ride on over to Congress. These impromptu scooter rides and seeing all the cute congressional dogs are something I will miss once I get back home. The second half of my workdays usually consists of completing my most important tasks if I have not already or finding a good stopping point for picking up tomorrow.

A large part of finding my rhythm while in D.C. has been listening to my body and knowing when working from home may be the better option. On days that I work from home, I can hop right into work without compromising my joints or further aggravating my mobility issues that stem from my hemophilia A. The ability to do this is one of the biggest differences between working in Congress and being at HFA. On these days, I will usually take a lunch time stroll or take the bus to a nearby library or coffee shop for a change of scenery in the afternoon. Either way, I tend to end my days similarly in that I like to come home to disconnect, settle in and prepare dinner. Some nights I might meet a friend for dinner or may have an evening networking reception to attend. Notably, while these are great ways to network and try new spots in D.C., I try to balance going with my me time as it helps me reflect on the week & recharge. Before bed, I tend to do a face mask while I prep for the next day where I do it all over again. Because every day is different, I find that having a consistent routine is key to finding the right balance of performing my best, exploring the district, and most importantly, taking care of myself in the process.


Noemy E. Diaz-Burgos (she/her/hers), 2023 Summer Intern