Jessica Cuevas and Morgan Robertson
As the 88th legislative session is winding down, I hope I can speak for all SHAIP Interns when I say that I think we’ve gotten the hang of the “Texas Lege”!
And this knowledge came in handy this week when we had the privilege of having lunch with President Alisa White, Dr. McCartney Johnson, and SHSU (and LEAP) alum Ms. Christina Gonzalez.
We were welcomed with open arms and hugs by Dr. White, Dr. Johnson, and Christina, and we filled our plates with yummy tacos from Chuy’s.
Dr. White began by asking us three questions related to our experiences at the Capitol. (1) What most surprised us? (2) What has been the most challenging? (3) What has been the most rewarding? In the time it took us to answer the questions, Dr. White wove in her own advice and thoughts from her experiences.
Although we are all in different offices, many of our experiences have been similar. For many of us, one challenging aspect has been how to interact with concerned or upset constituents. Such interactions force us to think on our feet, be responsive, and to de-escalate what can be stressful situations. Dr. White and Dr. Johnson noted that such interactions will likely be present in all occupations–including Higher Education!.
For Amor, the most surprising element of the internship was how much discretion she is given in her office. Because offices work with a minimum number of staff members, each member has to be capable of–and be trusted to–make good decisions. Amor, for example, frequently attends meetings, writes up talking points, and briefs the staff on legislation. In many ways, this reflects all of our experiences: our offices treat us as staff members and, in some offices, they even treat us like family!
Christina, who served as a LEAP Ambassador and a SHAIP intern–and who has much experience in the political worlds–expressed the importance of networking and ensuring that we establish connections. She stressed that the most important things in the legislature are (1) your work ethic and (2) your reputation.
The lunch concluded with Dr. White gifting us with AWESOME SHSU personalized tumblers!
As we descended from the tenth floor, hearts, and minds full, we walked back into the Capitol ready to take on the last 30 days of session. Sincere thank you to Dr. Johnson for organizing a great lunch, Christina for hosting, and Dr. White for her vibrant energy and curiosity!