UCDC Spring 2024: How I Turned Into a Morning Person

March 11, 2024

I never thought I’d ever be a morning person. Being awake at 5 AM was only a product of late-night study sessions, cramming for a midterm or yapping on the phone with my long-distance friends back at home. But now, being awake at 5 AM is a product of a newfound discipline, only made possible by the distance UCDC gifted me. Distance from distraction, stress, and more has been healing.

Why 5 AM? As a Digital Communications Intern for Congressman Dan Goldman, the representative for New York’s 10th District, I am responsible for ensuring that he is up to date with all current events and aware of what crimes or news occur every day. I rise before the sun, stumbling out of bed, brew coffee half asleep, and scour every prominent news outlet to configure a 15-to 30-page report on New York, national, and international news, as well as editorial and opinion pieces. These “Morning Clips” are due by 8 AM so that the Congressman, and the entire office, stay informed.

While at first conforming to this new routine was brutal, I gradually fell in love with the peace and stillness of the morning. After sending the news clips, I jump into my workout clothes and go for a run at the Washington Fitness Center, get ready for the day, make my breakfast and lunch, always barely making it in time for the Metro. Then, I arrive at the office at 11 AM, and do more research on media specifically relating to the Congressman, pivoting around 3 PM to write Tweets, press releases, and more. The beauty of this internship is that it has allowed me to be in a legislative space while undertaking work I love to do, digital communications and marketing. I am pursuing both passions simultaneously and seamlessly. 

I have been bracing myself this entire time for a wave of homesickness to crush me one of these days. I feared the day that the newness of everything would eventually wear off, taking from me the only thing keeping me from confronting the reality that I am 3,000 miles away from the life I have always known. However, I find myself three months into this experience still awaiting this feeling of homesickness; I have a feeling that it won’t be coming.

I was puzzled that, as connected to my community in Berkeley as I am, and as family-oriented as I am, I still have not felt crippled by this distance from home. However, after some reflection, I realized that I have a strong built-in network here on the Hill. Going on coffee chats with the talented legislative and communications team in Congressman Goldman’s office, all coming from diverse backgrounds and experiences, has truly helped me form my path. Additionally, making friends with my roommates and UCDC classmates, all coming from different schools, has kept me lifted and engaged. This experience has immersed me in a pool of ambition, surrounded by amazing people who are doing incredible things I love learning about. 

It’s interesting how much a break can improve your productivity. In anything, whether it's a work break to eat lunch, a study break to make some tea, or a rest day from a rigorous week of exercise, breaks can be transformative for your performance. This break from Berkeley has been the most beneficial break I have ever had. While I have never been busier, while I have never had a stricter schedule, and while I have never worked more hours in a week, I have never felt more rested. I consider this the most restful and rewarding break. It has been a break from my previous bad habits of going to bed late, skipping workouts, and lacking discipline in areas that need maintenance. Working on the Hill keeps you accountable so that there is no choice but to stay disciplined. I am so grateful to be able to enjoy 5 AMs, and having the freedom discipline, and hopefully, come home with completely new practices.

Making DC a home away from home alongside such brilliant peers was the best decision I made in my undergraduate career so far, and I am so grateful to everyone who was part of my professional journey. Thank you to the Matsui Center community for the endless support and the positive energy you all bring! I will eternally be grateful for this experience and the way that it has gifted me with experience, clarity, and community.