The summer migration from college campuses to the Hill has begun. To inoculate interns from potential disillusionment, here is a hypothetical listing of expectations and disappointments from the Congressional Management Foundation's "Congressional Intern Handbook."


I'm going to get to draft a bill. I'll see the congress-man every day, maybe even go to lunch with him

I'll accompany the senator when he testifies before the subcommittee.

It's going to be exciting all the time.

The computer system is going to be state-of-the-art awesome.

I'll help write a speech.

I'll do in-depth research on international trade.

I'll meet a lot of lobbyists.

I'll have my own desk and free rein on my activities.

I'll be involved in everything; the office would be lost without me.

A secretary will do all my word processing; I won't have to bother with it.

I'll get to go on the floor of the House when the congresswoman votes.

I'll be treated just like a regular member of the office staff.


The staff treats me like a second-class citizen. How 'bout an Intern Bill of Rights?

If I'm not opening mail the whole day, I'm folding, stuffing and sealing it.

Am I going to college to be a receptionist?

I've been here two weeks and I haven't even met the congressman yet.

I'm sick of just answering dumb letters. It's boring. When do I get to do something exciting?

A movie subtitle for my intership could be "Nobody Knows My Name."

It's my first day here and the office manager threw a pile of work at me, but didn't really tell me how to do it, where to look for the answers, who to call. I'm really lost already. When's the next plane home?

I expected high-tech and got "Jurassic Park."

I do things a third-grader could do, like sit in front of an autograph machine for three hours.

On the Senate side you'll help out in the mail room; on the House side, you'll be the mail room.

Desk? I don't even have an assigned place to sit!