Planning a TWC Experience? Read This | The Washington Center

Planning a TWC Experience? Read This.

Spending one of your last semesters away from school might seem like a premature jump into the foreboding "real-world," but sometimes this is the best decision you can make for yourself as a student and as a future young professional.


If you're a current junior considering an internship with The Washington Center in the coming semesters, I have a few takeaways from my own experience that might make your decision a little bit easier.



Tie Up Loose Ends

No, I don't mean cutting off all of your romantic prospects, or even making peace with all your haters. Tying up loose ends (for me, at least) meant getting some of that pesky senior-level work out of the way before I moved to D.C. That being said, I am the number one culprit for giving advice that I don't follow. Currently, I'm desperately trying to balance city-life, a fast-paced internship and that dreaded senior thesis we all put off until wayyy too late in the game. My punishment? Being confined to the lowest level of the RAF, tirelessly writing something that I should've finished months ago.


What is a "thesis"? I didn't come here to play school!


For one reason or another, I pushed my senior thesis to the backburner, and now I'm paying dearly with some serious FOMO while my friends explore the city and take cute pics to document the experience. My word of advice? Don't bring your thesis to D.C. with you, unless it's absolutely unavoidable. This goes for capstones, senior projects or whatever else your department calls these dreaded beasts. And if you MUST work on your thesis while you're here, do it in manageable chunks-don't wait until the last minute. Your sanity will thank you!


Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

If you're a sophomore/junior considering a TWC internship, that's great! Your ambition is definitely a good thing, and it's never too early to spend a semester out of your comfort zone. However, after meeting students of all different ages and backgrounds, I've gotten the impression that the younger interns are at a slight disadvantage in terms of what they are able to do in the city.


Another perk for waiting a couple of years? D.C. is big on brunch-and mimosas!


Being 21 is definitely not a prerequisite for applying to TWC (two of my roommates are sophomores), but you may find that events such as happy hour and other networking opportunities are limited to the 21+ crowd. This was the advice I got from my campus liaison when I first expressed interest in the program four years ago, and I'm definitely happy that I listened and waited. Being a real young'n, my window of opportunity didn't come until the last semester of my senior year, which leads me into my next point...


Ignore the FOMO

Sure, the idea of missing a sizable chunk of your senior year sounds kind of sad. After all, you've waited years for this, right? Seniority, spending the last year of undergrad with your friends and having some time to screw around before you grab that diploma. There's nothing wrong with wanting that experience for yourself, and there's no judgment towards those who pass up a semester in D.C. in exchange for that last coveted year at school.


It's not technically home, but it might be the next best thing!


But for those who have the nagging feeling that they still have a smidge of growing up to do before graduation, or for the students who want to do some serious networking before real-life actually begins, a semester at TWC will definitely help you achieve these goals.


While I desperately miss my best friends, my boyfriend, and my cats back in the Midwest, I'm getting priceless professional experience and contact with people whom I wouldn't have been able to rub elbows with back in rural Ohio. If you can handle a little hometown FOMO for a few months, TWC is worth the plunge into semi-adulthood that you might not be getting from your own college. Bonus: my abysmal time-management capabilities during undergrad have already perked up after just a month here. Being forced to plan your daily commute every day can really do wonders!


Solidify Your Path

If you don't have a solid post-grad plan, spending a semester in a well-connected city like D.C. has immeasurable benefits. If you're not planning on getting your first job near your hometown or where you're currently going to college, I strongly suggest D.C. as a jumping off point for making those connections.


Knowing that I wasn't planning on living in Ohio after I graduate, I realized that spending some time living and working in the nation's capital would help me establish connections with people who work in the area that I'm planning on relocating to (which is not D.C.) after I graduate in May.


Source: Creative Commons


And Speaking of Graduation...

One of the biggest concerns I've heard from juniors and seniors considering TWC is that they're worried they won't be able to walk during their own commencement ceremony. Don't fret-The Washington Center is flexible with your personal schedule, so if your school's graduation is before/near TWC's commencement, just contact your advisors and give them the heads up. TWC works with you to make sure that you get to experience all the important milestones in life, especially college graduation.


Source: Creative Commons


Waiting until my senior year to come to D.C. was definitely the best decision for me personally, but everybody has a different experience. Have more questions about TWC and what it's like to balance school, work and fun? Comment below!


Follow the experience on Instagram (I'm taking over this week!) at @twcinternships


Read Lydia's previous blog posts

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