Embracing Astonishment

Some people consider breakfast and coffee as the most important way to start the day, but the most important part of my morning routine is music. My roommates and I have adopted Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” as the morning’s anthem, while we mentally and physically prepare for another day in the Capitol. The opening lyrics, “it was all a dream…” are appropriate given where we Fellows came from and what we find ourselves doing this summer.

The one thing all Cal-in-Sac Fellows have in common is our unique stories. Mine is a bit complicated and unorthodox because of the 9+ years I served in the Air Force. If I had been told during basic training in Texas that my current life path would eventually lead to working in the Office of the Governor of California, I would have been astonished. And if I had been told that Jerry Brown would again be the Governor, even more astonishment would have resulted (it's a good thing no one told me that in basic training because I would have been instructed to "drop to my face" for expressing emotion). I feel that the resistance, strife and struggle I’ve faced since the years following my time in the Air Force, have shaped my character to make this possible. Resistance and overcoming struggle is an important part of life, which creates a more fulfilling life and ultimately makes up the themes of the stories we tell our kids and grandkids.

The last time I checked in, I described my excitement over working in the press office this summer, my fear of accidentally discrediting the administration through some unintended slip up, and my reluctance to answer phone calls (note: my last blog was written after only 2 days in my internship). It has now been a month and I’ve settled into my role in the press office pretty well. I now jump at the chance to answer the phone because of the endless possibilities on the other end of the line. Sometimes it’s an average constituent who randomly stumbled upon our phone number hoping to reach the governor’s ear to either commend him on the recent smooth budget agreement or to admonish him for something he vetoed. What makes this position even more surreal is taking phone calls from reporters who authored the article I’m reading at the moment, with the goal of anticipating the frame and sentiment of our governor in the media.

Less than a month in the program remains and I am excited for what’s to come. Since deciding to separate from the Air Force, stepping out of my comfort zone and away from the financial security of Uncle Sam, I’ve been rewarded with pretty important life experiences. However, there is no doubt more resistance, strife and struggle that lies ahead, such as finding a full time gig (interview next week!). But as Biggy declares: “It’s all good baby, baby.”

Happy Independence Day!


Steven Zimmer just graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Political Science. He is currently interning in the Governor's Press Office as a Cal in Sacramento Fellow.