Final Tips for a Successful Stay in DC
Being here in DC has been one of the best experiences I have had in a while. I know I had said this several times through out my blog entries, but I am serious! I went from this little timid individual who studied all the government processes and things like that to actually working on things that concern this body. It has been an amazing experience. I met some of the most ambitious people I have ever met here. But I don't want to downplay the negatives. There are definitely going to be downs to the experience, whether it be with the people in your program, or all the work you have to do with TWC and your class and your internship, but there will be some times where you will feel down. But don't worry, the good times definitely outweigh the bad. But here are some basic tips that add on to those that I started in my Midterm Review blog.
1. PLEASE sit down with your roommates when you first get there and lay out the rules. Be honest with what it is that you want and your preferences so that you won't resent your roommmates later on.
2. Try to get your work done ahead of time. I know I was one of the ones that was stressing abut getting work done at the last minute and it was hard! But I did it to myself. Eventually I got everything completed, but it was definitely hard and time consuming. Waiting to the last minute is just not a good thing...but it is a hard trait to change. Start on your TWC portfolio early! I cannot tell you how much smoother it would run if you just start on it earlier. You'll learn what it is that I am talking about when you get your syllabus.
3.I don't too much know about special things going on in DC in the fall (I am sure there is something big that goes on), but if you go during the spring, make sure you are at the Cherry Blossom Festival! Next year is supposed to be the centinnial year, so it is going to be huge! GO! Interesting fact: the cherry blossoms only last for a week and then all the flowers fall (I didn't know that) so don't be like me and think you can go down to see the cherry blossoms later when all the hype dies down a little bit. NOPE!
4. Set up a budget and work your best to stick to it. DC can be a rather expensive city. You have to pay to use the Metro to get everywhere, plus pay for whatever brought you to your final destination if it isn't free. There is a lot to do for free in DC so take advantage of that. Get used to taking your lunch to work, you will save a LOT of money. A LOT.
5. Take advantage of the programs and events that are given by the TWC RAs. It is a great way to meet new people at TWC and also to venture out and see something in the city for free or for cheaper than normal.
6. Take weekend trips to other cities on the East Coast. The East Coast is a very unique part of the country. Take advantage of your relative closeness to other major cities such as NYC, Boston, or Philadelphia. There are cheap options that you can take to get there by bus and the buses are rather clean. It's a cheap way to escape the monotonous feeling of being stuck in one city for a whole semester.
7. If you are under 21 years old, don't be shocked or upset by your limited options to do in the city. They card almost EVERYWHERE in DC. I actually thought it was rather ridiculous myself. I mean they even card at popular restaurants that have bars inside, but they also have a regular restaurant, but if you go there around happy hour, they are carding. Definitely a shift for me, I was not used to this.
8. Reach out to people in the field that you think you want to go into. I know this is hard for a lot of people. It was definitely a hard step for me to take, but I cannot tell you how worth it it truly is. Gaining insight from a person who is actually doing what you think you want to do can show you whether or not this is something that you truly want to do before you invest way too much into pursuing this career. Talk to people! People in DC love to talk about themselves, so don't be shy!
Well these are some of the final tips I have regarding the semester. It has been a pleasure pouring out my experience on here for you all to read. I hope that you all have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing! Good luck with your Washington Center experience, I am sure it will be just as rewarding and fulfilling as mine! :)