Postcards Home: Legislative intern Mark Simon has stories to tell, but not here

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Mark Simon

Mark Simon worked in Minority Whip Max Gruenberg's Juneau office this semester. His postcards home walked a fine line between sharing experiences and maintaining the confidences that were a part of his experience. He'll tell you more when you see him. (Photo by Philip Hall/University of Alaska Anchorage)

I think what people need to know before they come down to Juneau is that it is hard to write about your experiences. A legislative internship is as much a personal education as much as it is an education about the institution you work in. It is truly an eye-opening and life-changing experience. You leave your home, you leave everything that is familiar to you, and move to a place that is separate from the rest of the state. You are put into a building with hundreds of people who are all in the same situation, and you have to work together for 90 days or more on similar projects. There is a sense of camaraderie that I have never experienced elsewhere. Combine that with the unique work that you do, and the unique people who are working there, and you find that being in that environment becomes a siren's call, and you keep going back time and time again.

It's hard to talk about the legislature for two reasons. First, you spend so much time working in the building that when you leave for the day all you want to do is unwind and not think about work. Second, you don't want to say anything that jeopardizes your reputation "in the building."

Unfortunately, this letter will not offer a satisfying end point to this journey through the legislature. In reality, there isn't an end, no fade to black, no rolling credits and no resolution. Next year the legislature will come back together and continue the work they were doing this year, and they'll do that again, and again, and again. There is no real end to it. Just stories, many stories, and if you see me around at UAA and you ask me about the legislature, I'd be happy to talk to you. But when you hear what I have to say, you may notice that I'll speak in hushed tones. You will walk away with a sense that you're not getting the whole story-only a part. Much of what I learned, I cannot speak about, because it was confidential to my office, or to me personally-I don't want to violate someone's trust. I can only tell you part of the story because I am also still learning the ways of the legislature and as I leave this internship, I am eager to learn more.

Legislative intern Mark Simon wrote this Postcards Home from Juneau, where he is working for Minority Whip Max Gruenberg.

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