Happy Monday Everyone!
It’s that time again. For those of us that living in The District, we know that the spring time brings more than just cherry blossoms, annoying tourists and sidewalks blanketed with cicada carcasses. It is also the precursor to one of our favorite little nuisances: the summer intern invasion. Now before I became a budding young professional living in The District according to Thought Catalog, I myself was apart of the Summer 2011 intern invasion. Still on my high of being a college grad, I came down to D.C. with an open mind–and two years later I’m still here. I’ve learned to navigate The District in all of it’s awesomeness during my time here, and I think it’s important for newbies to have a little bit of insight on how we get down here. So for all of you college students and (recent grads) that will soon be making your way to The District for three months of summer bliss, this one is for you 🙂
Congratulations, and welcome to Washington, D.C.! Whether you will be interning on The Hill or starting your first job, you are definitely in for a great experience. The summer is a great time to frolic and be free, but also an even better time to explore and really get a sense of the city. Now don’t get it twisted — D.C. is not always ‘turnt up’ as it will be May-August, so if you end up staying here after Labor Day, don’t say I didn’t warn you. And since you probably won’t get an official welcome to the city from a fellow ambitious 20-something like myself, I wanted to take the time and drop five pearls of wisdom on what you should expect as you prepare to embark on this exciting journey:
1. Network. This is a given. Everywhere you go this summer can be used as an opportunity to building your network. (Note: your network = net worth, start early friend!) And since you all are considered special guests to the many companies and organizations that you will be working with, there are going to be NUMEROUS happy hours, brunches and networking events designed specifically for you. For my 21 and older crowd, if you find that one of these events is open bar, just remember to be tactful with your consumption. Take advantage of these opportunities to meet new people, engage with professionals and make long lasting connections. Also, be sure to link up with your college or university’s alumni organization. It’s always comforting to know that there are people in the city that you share something in common with. Sure, it may seem nerve wracking to reach out at first, but don’t be afraid to just send an email to say hello. Nine times out of ten, that person will be glad to help you out with adjusting to city life.
2. Be a tourist. If this is your first time in The District, please don’t neglect visiting at least ONE monument or museum. D.C. is laced with so much history, and most of it is FREE.99! The Holocaust Museum, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the National Zoo in Woodley Park and the National Portrait Gallery are just a few of my favorite spots to visit when I have the time. If you have time, hop on a Megabus and head to Baltimore for a quick day trip. And nothing beats a nice evening stroll along the National Mall or the National Harbor in Georgetown. Take those cheesy pictures in front of the White House and of you “holding” the Washington Monument — they’ll make for great stories to share with friends and family.
3. Have patience with WMATA. Chile listen– the Metro will become the bane of your existence while you are here, so just get ready. From endless track work on every line to Metro cars without air conditioning on the hottest days of the summer, you are experience it all. My advice? Learn the bus system (which by the way is cheaper, and more efficient) or just bite the bullet and walk to your destination if it’s close enough. Also, as soon as you arrive to DC, purchase your SmarTrip card. You can do this at a local CVS or at one of those new kiosks in any Metro station. Paper cards are far more expensive, they are easy to lose and just set you up to fail when you’re trying to get through the turnstile and notice you don’t have enough money to leave the station. Ain’t nobody got time for that, so just go ahead and invest in your SmarTrip card today.
4. Try to set a budget for yourself. I get it. It’s summertime and you want to go to happy hour every night after work with your co-workers to make friends like I’ve stated above — TRUE. But listen here — those daily happy hours along with transportation costs and other expenses are going to add up quickly. There’s nothing wrong with going out and enjoying DC’s awesome restaurants, but if there’s anything I wish I would’ve done during my intern days, it would have been to save my money and brown bag my lunch everyday. Trust me, you are going to be glad that you saved $10 a day by not going to Sweetgreen or Chipotle and rolling with the good ol’ turkey sandwich.
5. Have Fun! There’s nothing like summertime in The District (no comparison to Summertime Chi of course), so soak up every inch of the city as much as you can. Looking back, I’m so happy that I decided to move here. From the liveliness of U Street and Adams Morgan, to the suburban stillness in Georgetown and Mount Pleasant, The District is extremely versatile and there is something for everyone. D.C. is the quintessential place for millennials, so it won’t be hard to find things to do. If you do in fact have a little trouble getting adjusted, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or tweet me and I’ll be happy to provide a few suggestions on some cool things to do.
So there you have it! Again, welcome to The District and I wish all of you a wonderful and successful summer.