Claudette Enriquez is a Communications major at University of Pikeville interning at C-SPAN in Spring 2020. Here, she shares her career journey.
On realizing second career opportunities:
Not everybody knows this, but this is actually my second career — I had originally majored in microbiology and was working towards becoming a doctor, but decided to change my career path because I was unsatisfied with my work goals and realized I was not passionate about where my career was headed. I now want to become a journalist; I want to talk to people and learn information so that I can share it with others.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience, it’s the importance of consciously choosing a career that you're passionate about. Don’t choose a career for somebody else, for popularity, nor for the money. When I was younger, I made the mistake of choosing a career because it’s something my family would approve of and I also chose a college simply because it sounded good. It is so easy to want to be liked and to be popular, but if you are not passionate about what you are doing, then you have lost all that time towards something that you will just look at and dread.
On making an impact:
Right now, I am interning within C-SPAN’s education relations department. We recently hosted a StudentCam documentary competition where I took the lead on organizing the logistics to support the 2500+ entries we had.
The whole experience was priceless. Being able to recognize the hours on hours of production work that these students invested, it made me realize that it’s moments like these that can change somebody’s life — just like my life changed when I made the decision to attend The Washington Center (TWC).
Through TWC, I’m able to expand my skills and expertise at my internship with C-SPAN, which has been life-changing. I get to see what happens behind the scenes and get a feel for what it is like to work for a major media corporation. This not only adds to my skill sets, but it also helps me navigate other career options that I never knew were available to me. Also, it’s definitely been a highlight to have had the opportunity to work side-by-side with Brian Lamb, the co-founder of C-SPAN!
On the most memorable “only-in-D.C.” moment:
My top “only-in-D.C.” moment so far has been the opportunity to randomly - and quite easily - network with high-profile people. One morning, I decided to take the metro to explore Georgetown. As I was sitting on a bench waiting for the train, a gentleman with a suitcase rolls up and sits next to me. I then decided to make small talk and he was kind enough to continue the conversation. Long story short, it turns out that he works as a lawyer for a HUGE media broadcasting company — I asked for a business card and if I could ask more information about his work or how I could get involved. He was more than happy to and has now been helping me network with people within the broadcasting media world, which will help open job opportunities down the road. In Washington, D.C., you just never know who might be sitting next to you. I have lived in San Diego my whole life and opportunities like that never happened on the west coast.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience, it’s the importance of consciously choosing a career that you're passionate about. Don’t choose a career for somebody else, for popularity, nor for the money.Claudette Enriquez, Spring 2020 inter, C-SPAN
On overcoming challenges:
The biggest challenge I had to overcome was to not be afraid to ask questions. I think asking for help or even admitting that you do not know how to do something is not in any of our character skills. We would like to play ourselves as all-knowing, smart individuals, but it's true honesty that employers and companies are looking for. Admitting that you don’t know everything is okay and I had to learn to not be afraid to say that or to ask my peers around me for help.
On the importance of staying humble:
The best career advice I ever received was “work hard, be loyal, and be humble.” During the Inside Washington seminar at TWC, we heard from a variety of D.C.-based experts about their careers and how they get their start. After the two-week seminar, one thing was clear: If you are looking for a job here in Washington, D.C., nobody cares where you graduated from. Always walk into a room ready to work hard, be loyal, and be humble. Those are the three most important things that matter in the hiring process.
On goals for this decade:
- Get a job in D.C. after this semester, preferably with C-SPAN.
- Make steps towards starting my own networking business. A lot of Spanish speakers would love to know what is happening on the Senate or Representative floor, but the translation of what is being said is not the best.
- Alternatively, become a Spanish news anchor.
On work-life balance:
Fun fact, I used to do professional ballroom dancing and I have backpacked through Europe :)
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