Everyone's familiar with the networking that goes on up on the Hill. But there is another place where making connections and back-scratching seem just as prevalent. You could call it a summer training ground of sorts, where future lobbyists and politicians practice their skills of verbal influence -- lining up friends, votes and supporters for the years to come. These classes are taking place this summer every morning and afternoon on the G2 bus.

During the morning rush hour, the bus leaves from the Georgetown University gates every eight minutes packed with a full load of summer interns. This group -- which inhabits the economically (as well as socially) practical Georgetown University housing -- consists of more than half of the 101st Congress's interns along with a few Bush and Quayle helpers and those employed by myriad government-related interest groups.

As the ride starts, the din begins. But this is no bus of Babel. If you listen closely, what you hear is half the passengers reciting the glories of their resumes and jobs, while the other half wait impatiently to interrupt.

These are interns jockeying for position. A Yale student may think he's got one up on the Cornell student -- until he finds out that she's working for a second-term senator as compared with his mere freshman congressman. But working for the biggest, best and brightest isn't enough. To be first on the bus, an intern must also be doing "meaningful" work.

Listen carefully, and you'll hear an intern telling tales of derring-do, of dashes from committee meeting to committee meeting. Another responds that he's long abandoned committee meetings in order to write reports of such consequence that their contents -- not to mention their august recipients -- cannot even be hinted at, not even on the G2 bus.

Though understatement and modesty are rare on the G2, no one forgets that we're all interns and that today's lesser lights may be tomorrow's stars. Thus, too much bragging isn't smart -- no one wants to alienate future contacts.

Yet as might be expected on a bipartisan bus, the atmosphere can remain congenial only for as long as the conversation stays off politics. As one intern, Eric Pelofsky, puts it, "the ride takes so long, if you start talking politics with someone, it's bound to turn into a long, drawn-out, full-fledged political debate."

Like the time Pelofsky struck up a conversation with Brett Brenner, another congressional intern who coincidentally lives only 20 minutes from Pelofsky back in their hometown in Kansas. However, Pelofsky is working for the majority whip, while Brenner is working for the minority leader.

"I don't recall exactly what we argued about, but I do remember that it got real heated near the end when I accidentally called {House Minority Leader Bob} Michel, Michels -- that's when he really laid into me," Pelofsky said.

Brenner didn't enjoy the argument much either: "I get enough politics at work. The last thing I want to do is talk politics on the bus, especially so early in the morning." Still, once begun, such arguments are likely to continue until the bus empties out at Dupont Circle, where the networkers transfer to the Metro and crowds of straphangers force them to separate.

But it all starts up again at Dupont Circle at 5:30, when the interns, sometimes after a drink with their new-found friends and colleagues, converge once more upon the G2. After the long bus ride back to the Georgetown University gates, they part, exchanging phone numbers and firm handshakes. The dress rehearsal for the 105th Congress has ended for another day.

-- Joanna Stone is a summer intern at The Post.