That the meeting didn't happen sooner: So, I've been working on this project all semester and I presented my research. Although my research was very good, she said, I didn't organize it properly. Think of LexisNexis or any other database you've used. When you do a search, you just flag the articles you think are interesting. The rest of the articles you don't look at again. But, she told me that the proper way to do it would have been to search for, let's say "Sally Sue." Put every "Sally Sue" hit into a folder. Then search "Sally Sue" and "Joe Blow," and put all of those in a folder. That way if an attorney wanted to look for all the SS and JB articles, they could do it easily, and it didn't fall so severely to what I considered "important." In short, she said that she wished we met earlier so that I could have done that. I went back and corrected it anyway. But, she also noted (thankfully), that it's a two-way street; I didn't call for a meeting early in the semester to get specific directions, but she also didn't ask for one. So it definitely goes both ways.
Highlight my strengths; don't let anything go implied: I'm a (very) fast reader. When I first got the assignment, the attorneys gave me a number of background reading assignments, totaling almost 500 pages (maybe more, I wasn't really counting). I finished all the reading before lunch and kept going back for more work. The assignment, they expected, would take a few days. Instead it took a few hours. The attorney told me that if I know that I read quickly, I should have told her that at the get go; highlight my strength instead of letting it be implied.
I was a bit annoyed at first by her two criticisms; I never knew I could be criticized for my abilities! But I welcomed it. It taught me to always ask questions. I'm the kind of person who works quickly and keeps to myself at work. But that meeting taught me to don't be afraid to bother the attorneys, ask tons of questions, and really show how interested I am in this job.
In other news, they asked me to come back next semester, and I accepted! So, another semester at DOJ! I'm super excited; I love this office.