6 Tips Before You Arrive

6 Tips Before You Arrive

After accepting the opportunity to spend a semester with The Washington Center, it only took me a few moments to begin to feel a sense of nervousness and hesitancy as to what was coming next. I will preface the content below by assuring you that I am not an expert on D.C., TWC or any other combination of acronyms you can find in this wonderful city. However, after spending six weeks living and interning in the heart of the nation's capital, I can confidently say that my decision to participate in TWC has been life-changing for the best. Below, I'll list a few pieces of advice I wish I had known before coming to TWC that will hopefully make your transition as smooth as possible.


1. Begin Brainstorming

Are you looking for an opportunity to intern on The Hill? Are you wanting to be a field reporter for CNN? Maybe you're looking for that unique accounting internship with the top firm in D.C. Who knows, maybe you're interested in all three. Whatever your case is, I highly recommend you begin brainstorming the internship experience you are looking for. Taking the time to think about your major, previous internship/work experience and future goals will help you as you begin the internship matching process with The Washington Center.


2. Ready. Set. Go.

Once you're accepted into The Washington Center internship program, an internship advisor will reach out to you. TWC internship advisors are your go-to source for landing that perfect job placement. They will help you narrow down the brainstorm you've already begun, and will help clean up the resume that your potential future employer will be receiving. The more specifics you provide them, the more likely they will be able to connect you to an internship that fits what you're looking for. In an environment where 40,000+ interns are racing to land a job, it is helpful to get a head start. Don't be afraid to do a bit of searching on your own, but be sure to keep your internship advisor in the loop.


3. Read, Read, Read

Regardless of the route your internship is taking you, being up to date on national and global news is a must (especially if you're on The Hill). If you haven't already, begin to make news outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Politico part of your morning readings. Also, don't be afraid to research and read up on any concerns or questions you have before coming to D.C. The more you know before you get there, the less you'll have to learn along the way. Even if you're already a pro, a refresher on how to ride the Metro certainly doesn't hurt.



4. Choosing a Class

During your time at TWC, you'll be required to take one evening course. Your class will be held once a week for a meeting time of three hours. If you can imagine, taking a night class after a full day at your internship site can be quite challenging. I cannot recommend enough the importance of researching and selecting a class that best suits what you want to get out of your D.C. experience. Staying awake and alert in class after a 10-hour work day is challenging enough. Don't make this harder on yourself by not taking the time to look through the course syllabus and choose the class that will be most beneficial for you. I promise it will pay off!


5. Don't Push the Pause Button

After you've conquered the steps above, you'll be on your way to D.C. and moved in before you know it. Although you're about to enter a world full of excitement and opportunities, feelings of anxiousness and nervousness are inevitable. I often compare my first week at TWC with my first week at college. Let's not kid ourselves. Change is hard. I encourage you to be incredibly intentional in your relationships with your friends back at school. "Adulting" isn't easy. However, that process will be much smoother if you communicate well with the support group that surrounded you during your time in school. During the business of your TWC experience, it can be easy to push the pause button on your friendships back at home. Don't do it. Those people are the ones that will support you during your transition into TWC when the going gets tough.

6. Don't Forget to Enjoy the Experience

Do not be afraid if it takes the first few weeks to get a comfortable grip on your new environment. Be patient with yourself. You've moved to a different city, moved into a new home, changed academic institutions and somehow balanced an internship and social life along the way. Once you've gotten in the groove, don't forget to enjoy D.C. Get lost in the free museums. Take a few selfies in front of all of the monuments. Save a few extra dollars to grab lunch at a food truck. Grab a book and read while enjoying the background of the Capitol and the Supreme Court. Heck, even take a stroll through the White House gardens if you want. Like I've mentioned before, the opportunities in D.C. truly are endless. It can be easy to get in the routine of heading to work and directly back home after. Don't miss out on the amazing city you'll get to call home for a few months.



Read Austin's previous blog posts

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