An Intern's Guide to the D.C. Metro Area

Posted on Sunday, Aug 13, 2017

Washington DC has no sympathy for the interns who mismanage their time, social capital, or financial resources. As warm as the summer may be, this place can grow to be stern and distant if one happens to adhere to one to many faux pas. The following are simple tips that have helped and will continue to help me experience the DC area.
Uber Everywhere
Well sort of. If you do not have Uber or Lyft, you need to make a lifestyle change. Most places that are must see areas of DC are hard to get to by metro rail lines alone. When traveling in groups this is typically the preferred means of transportation, but be careful. Always split the fare. Splitting fares with your friends will be the easiest way for you to ensure affordable travel and not lose new found friendship over a $36 Uber XL ride.
Is your lunch more than your hourly pay?
It is easy to find great eats in DC. The not so pretty downside to this is that if you are interning, you most likely will not be paid, although there are some who will be the exceptions. For those who are paid interns it is never really a great idea to consistently have lunch and dinner if it is twice or three times more than what you bring in on an hourly rate. Be modest and plan when you will eat out to save your funds. If you happen to have an unpaid internship, budget for groceries and meal prep as often as possible.
Groceries get delivered to your door step.
So you don’t have a car, no problem. Most stores have a food delivery service. Giant, for example, uses what is called “Peapod” to deliver groceries to its customers. There are other services, like Fresh Direct, that offer $50 dollars off grocery purchase if using promotion codes.
Print more business cards.
The amount of business cards that you start with will not be enough! You will have to eventually either have more printed or order your own. The one thing that you never want to do while in DC is try to network with no business cards. It makes it harder for you to make your impression and for the one you are trying to connect with to communicate with you.
Don’t lose yourself.
The hype of the DC area is sometimes overwhelming. Sometimes this means that people lose who they are when surrounded by new people and ideas from every part of the conservative / liberal spectrum. In the flurry of new sensations stay convicted to the goals and objectives you set forth at the beginning of your internship. You will thank yourself later.
There is probably something crucial that I left out, but these are the things that helped me out the most now that I reminisce over my experience.

Joshua Lewis
Texas A&M University System Office of Federal Relations
Washington, D.C. | summer 2017