Intern’s Guide to Living in DC
Hello again! It’s been a while since I’ve updated a blog and things have been settling into a more concrete schedule since my first week. Today was my one month anniversary at work, and while it’s great to feel like I’m finally getting a handle on the ins and outs of the job, I can’t believe how little time I have left!
As I’m starting to get more of a routine down, I thought I’d share a few lessons learned about living and working in Washington D.C.
One of the first things that I convinced my parents when I was accepted into the Washington Program was that I was going to need an almost entirely new wardrobe to match my full time job. While in hindsight this was probably not priority one on the long list of necessities for moving to a new city, clothing is definitely an important consideration if you are thinking about living in D.C., for two main reasons. First off, jeans, t-shirts, a couple of CMC sweatshirts, and your 6:01 tank probably aren’t going to cut it for office attire. If this is your first full time job, a little wardrobe investment may not be a bad idea. Secondly, of course, is that it gets cold in D.C., and it rains (sometimes, I’ve heard, it even snows) and your weather app at 7:00 am will reliably be terrible at predicting the daily forecast. You’re going to need coats, sweaters, and probably lots of layers, not to mention some warm, walkable shoes (goodbye flip flops).
However, as an intern you’ll probably be unpaid, which means the budget for new clothes may be a little tight. The best thing to do in this case is hunt for sales. I am personally a huge fan of Loft for all of my business casual needs, which constantly has great 50% off sales. I would also recommend signing up for UNiDAYS which gives you student discounts at Ann Taylor, Modcloth, and plenty of other places.
I love having my own kitchen and being able to make my own meals, but one of the biggest hassles of living outside of the Claremont Bubble is not being able to swipe into a dining hall for dinner after an exhausting day and a two hour seminar. I usually lack all motivation after getting home from work and preparing dinner can seem like a pretty daunting task, which is why the temptation to just pick up Chipotle often wins out. However, this quickly becomes a drag on your wallet and on your health. Additionally, even if you make most of your meals at home, the cheap all-carb diet of Ramen, boxed rice, and Easy Mac is another mistake to avoid. It sounds silly, but be sure to eat your fruits and veggies! It actually really improves your energy levels and mood throughout the day and it’s pretty easy to take an apple to work or to throw in a side of vegetables for dinner.
Also, even if it’s only a weekly thing, I definitely recommend taking advantage of your oven while you’re not living in a dorm by preparing a meal with your roommates or baking some goodies. It’s always a great roommate bonding experience!
Getting around D.C. is going to involve using public transportation. Everyone should definitely purchase a SmarTrip card when they get to D.C., and register it online so you can manage the amount and set up auto reload, which adds value to the card automatically when you’re running low. Living near a metro stop is definitely ideal and although the trains can often be crowded at peak hours they’re usually the fastest way to get from Point A to Point B. That being said, I also hugely recommend checking out the buses for commuting to and from work. If your apartment or office isn’t that close to a metro station, a bus may be the better choice for getting to work because they tend to cover a lot more ground. Also, while the weather is still nice, walking is a great way to get around and to discover the city in the process.
I hope some of this helps! Until next time!