Finding Your Balance

Posted on Thursday, Nov 08, 2018

Washington, D.C. – undoubtedly one of the busiest cities in the US, and arguably, one of the busiest in the world. All you need is a glimpse of metro ride on the way to work at 8:30 AM on a Monday morning – people, hundreds of people, commuting to work or wherever else. Everyone, going somewhere important, to do important things and to be an important person. It’s very easy to get caught up in the whirlwind that is this city, and it’s important to strive maintain a balance between this speed and your own personal sanity. I’ve detailed a few tips from my own personal experience that I feel have allowed me to make the most of all moments and opportunities while interning, and still making room for “me time.”
  1. Take advantage of your nights! – I know how easy it is to take the train home and collapse after a long day. My office is just as fast-paced if not more than most. But, my most rewarding days are those where every moment is filled. Whether I go grab a drink or two with friends or fellow interns, attend a free event or reception, or simply peruse new neighborhoods of the city, I never regret trying to do something, despite how tired I may be, after work. Besides – you’ll sleep when your dead, or maybe just tomorrow. And if you didn’t like coffee before, I’d suggest warming up to the taste.
  1. Draw your line in the sand – It can be very easy to let the goings-on from work seep into your life post-work. I would advise future interns to take a limited time to unload from the day, and then attempt to focus on matters other than work outside of it. I’d like to think that striving to set the foundation for work-life balance early on will be beneficial going forward into your future career – it has certainly proven beneficial for me.
  1. Don’t take off your rose-colored glasses – DC is a fantastic and beautiful city, and as someone who grew up in a small town, it is a daily wonder to me. I encourage future interns to revel in the little moments and ogle at the beauty of the city itself – the architecture, the hustle and bustle, everything to eat and see and do. Find joy in the little things for as long as possible, as the city is known to turn people into cynics.
  1. Get out of town – Feel like the rosy tint is fading? There are plenty of wonderful places to take a weekend trip around the city. Harper’s Ferry, Richmond, Bethesda, Shenandoah – the list goes on. If you’re feeling a bit worn down by the speed of the city, try to get away.
As I mentioned, it is incredibly easy to get distracted by the business of Washington, and its crucial to try to strike a balance from the beginning as to not get swept away too soon. This advice may not be applicable to everyone, but I advise future interns to perhaps use it as a starting point to finding their own personal balance between intern life and real life.

Sophia Robichaux
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. | fall 2018