1500 miles away from his family, junior Travis Christoff stood in Washington D.C as a page for the senator when President Donald Trump walked over to him to chat.
“The President talked to us for a little bit, he said ‘Y’all are doing a great job, I wish I had your job’, and it was really cool seeing him talk to us,” he said.
Christoff was surfing the web when he found Senator John Cornyn website. He saw a internship opportunity posted. The program allowed high school juniors to go work for the senate as a page and study in Washington D.C for five months.
Christoff arrived in D.C on September 1st, 2018. When he was there, he studied in a specialized school which only accommodated 35 students and four teachers. The school day started at 6:00 a.m and would go until 9:45 p.m. However, if the senate convened early then Christoff would head to work as a page. Some of his tasks are setting up the chamber for the senators, giving them water and preparing their materials. The work hours would vary; if it was the early shift he would get off at 6:00 p.m, if it was on the other shift then work continued until it ended. One day, Christoff went until 12:00 a.m.
He experienced a lot of interesting events during the internship. For example the Brett Cavanough confirmation and the midterms elections. In December, Christoff attended President George H.W Bush’s lying in state ceremonies. Another event was the government shut down, he was there for 35 days. Eventually Christoff had to come home.
After returning to Texas, he struggled with adjusting to the bigger clases here when he was so use to smaller classes in Washington. That is the hardest thing currently.
He learned a lot of things during that experience. Some people have the opinion that the government system is not effective. Christoff learned that the system does work, but he does it admit that it takes time. He also got to see something surprising.
“A lot of people think that they’re [government workers] mad at each other and hate each other, but they’re all best friends, so I learned to have faith in the system,” Christoff said.