An Intern's Guide for a Government Shutdown

Posted on Monday, Feb 12, 2018

The first week of my internship was spent worrying if I would be coming to work the following week. However, I didn’t really believe that the government would shut down; the two parties couldn’t possibly disagree to that extent, could they? People joked about taking a vacation to go skiing, getting to sleep in, or just getting a quick break from work. Yet, all the jokes were undercut with an aura of apprehension because, despite the jokes, people needed to be able to do their jobs.

The government would shut down at midnight on January 20.  At 6pm the evening before, when everyone was packing to go home for the weekend, they still did not know what the outcome would be. If anything, people were frustrated with not knowing what was going to happen. They had to prepare for either the government shutting down or operating like normal. The confusion regarding their fate for the next week was what really irked the office.

Luckily, as an intern for a federal agency a government shut down can be interesting. I got an extra day off to explore the city. Things I recommend doing in D.C. when the government shuts down (or just whenever):
  • Visit the National Mall at night
    • There are few things as gorgeous as the view of the Lincoln Memorial looming in front of you.
  • Meet new people
    • D.C. is a great place to make new friends and meet interesting people!
  • Explore the city
    • Take the opportunity to get out and explore sections of D.C. that you wouldn't normally be able to during the work week. While federal museums will be closed due to the government shutdown, there are still plenty of options. 
  • Catch up on homework
    • While not the most exciting thing, it's still an option.
What would you do during a government shutdown?

Abhisha "Abby" Christopher
Department of Commerce
Washington, D.C. | spring 2018