Being Furloughed!

When I decided to participate in the Cornell in Washington program, I knew that there were some inherent unknowns in a semester away from Ithaca–how the D.C. weather would be, what my classmates/co-residents would be like, and how I’d enjoy the program and my internship overall.

I gotta say, though, one thing that I did not question once before coming was the operating status of the federal government–I kinda just assumed, you know, that it would stay open and my internship at the Treasury wouldn’t be shut down until further notice.

Yet, that’s exactly what happened! Due to the United States federal government shutdown, many “non-essential” workers are forced to stay home while congress gets its act together, and can pass a budget to fund the government for the next year.

It’s ‘funny’ in a sense that, because so many people in the program are doing their (required) internships at government agencies, a lot of students don’t know what to do with themselves in the meantime. The CIW program is structured to allow for your entire day to be spent at your internship; classes are usually at nights and on one morning a week.

It’s affecting a bunch of people in the program;  a lot of my friends are interns at various agencies, and are stuck in “furlough” status. This includes people at:

  • The White House
  • The House of Representatives
  • The Department of Justice
  • The Department of the Treasury

It’s okay, though; D.C. has an abundance of parks, monuments and museums that we can spend the day at…right? Oh wait, those are closed too. Check out this sign I found, below right, while walking by a park yesterday.

This is definitely a ‘uniquely D.C.’  thing. Up in Ithaca, this might’ve been brought up in discussion in one of my classes, but to witness it firsthand–and feel the implications personally of a shutdown government (read: having to spend the day without much to do)–is a whole ‘nother story. It’s a bizarre feeling, watching the news and realizing it has extremely personal implications . For example, I didn’t know until midnight the night of the shutdown–once I saw CNN/Fox/NBC reporting it–that I was barred from interning the next day, and thus turned my alarm clock off (I likened it to my elementary school “snow day” procedure).

It’s been an interesting couple of days…

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