This is it. The end is here. I figured this would be a good opportunity for me to bestow part one of my words of wisdom upon any prospective or future TWC students and other people interested in internships in DC.
The Metro is your friend. Buy a Smartcard as quickly as possible. It is extremely convenient for when you go out and have to use the Metro. Read the maps. Don’t stand on the left side of the escalator – you will get plowed out of the way by an angry rider or two. Don’t take it personal. It’s just the way it is.
READ THE NEWSPAPER! The Express is handed out for free every single weekday morning. Read it and know it!! All current local, national, and international events are in there. All sorts of gossip, showtimes, and similar things are as well. You’ll be the only person who is out of the loop when your coworkers and friends are talking about the day’s hot topics.
Use Peapod.com for grocery delivery when you have to buy a ton of food. They bring it to you and sometimes you can use coupons. It’s a pain to try to carry a ton of food around, so having someone do all the work for you is a plus.
SIGHTSEE! Go check out all the free stuff! You never know what you’re gonna find. The Smithsonian Museums are all free, there are monuments, and oodles more to do. Go to random Metro stops and just wander around! Check out the following spots: Eastern Market (on Saturdays and Sundays), Gallery Place-Chinatown, King Street, Adams Morgan. These are just a few of the many places that are awesome down here
DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND YOUR PORTFOLIO. Repeat. Read that again. The portfolio is a sneaky little monster that will creep up on you your last weekend here while you are trying to do some last minute sight seeing and going out with your friends. Seriously work on everything early so it doesn’t ruin your fun later.
Have fun! Life is short and so is your internship experience. It’s what you make of it. If you spend your time just laying around and not sightseeing, then you are wasting precious moments! Go out and experience as much as you can. This is an area that is practically drenched in history.
Now I know several of my other fellow bloggers has spoken about their dismay with the Metro system in Washington. I have many of the same grievances against it as they do. I hate being pushed and shoved by people attempting to pile into a train as much as the next guy.
The subway system in DC isn’t all that bad. It is rather easy to figure out…within my first couple of days of being in DC I pretty much had it done pat. It’s that simple as compared to subway systems in …I don’t know…NEW YORK..which are ridiculous. I’ve talked to several people while I was in New York who had been living there for years and still have yet to figure out all the twists and turns of their subway system. Sheesh!
New York Subway system. Confusing huh? Yeah, I know.
DC Metro map. May look confusing now, but trust me…it’s really easy.
The Metro can also be rather entertaining. It is always fun to watch the 50-or-so-year -old man with earphones in his ear bobbing his head trying to relive his younger years or to see the thirty-year-old balding man who decided that keeping an earring in his ear was still part of the professional world. It’s also always fun to listen to tourists new to the Washington area attempting to find their way around the metro. I am often kind enough to offer my kind assistance if I can, which makes me feel like I really got this place figured out. I’m no longer the new kid on the block
Few tips that I can rattle together based on what I have experienced:
1. If you’re traveling during rush hour, during the morning or around the time you get off from around 5ish-6:30ish/7, more than likely you don’t have too much to worry about. With so many people using the system at this time, and most of them are normal, you don’t have too much going on. But still continue to scope your surroundings to make sure nothing funny is going on. You never know!
2. If you’re traveling a little later or during a time when there aren’t that many people in your train, try as hard as you can to get to a position where you can see the entire train in front of you. Ideally, sit as close to the back as you can so you have nothing or no one behind you (especially if you are a young lady as I am, but this is also a good tip for guys as well).
3. Don’t be afraid to get into the big crowds. Usually when it’s time to head home, everyone is tired and super ready to be at home. They will push you out of the way…or yell at you because you aren’t moving fast enough.
4. If someone does yell at you, don’t yell back. Not that anyone will hit you or anything (they might) but it’s just so unproductive and gets nothing solved.
5. When using the escalators, in the off-chance that they are working, always stand to the right and walk to the left if you want to pass people.
6. Going along with tip #5, don’t be surprised if almost all the escalators aren’t working. They often don’t and most times it isn’t a big deal because they are usually just the length of a normal staircase. BuT then there are the monster ecalators like the one at Dupont circle which has sooo many stairs. It sucks when those escalators are out, and yes…I have had to experience that, thanks for asking!
7. On weekends, add like 30 or so extra minutes on to your travel time if you have to use the Metro. They are always doing something during the weekends and the trains don’t run as frequently as they do during the week.
Those are just a few of the tips that I could think of. For the most part the Metro system is rather convenient.