How to Survive Washington, D.C. as an Intern
As many young people descend upon our nation’s capital to begin their internships, it can be difficult to navigate the city and make the most out of the experience.
Having been an intern in Washington, D.C. three times myself, I can provide some valuable guidance to ensure interns have the best experience possible.
First and foremost, it is crucial to effectively budget your time, energy, and of course your finances.
Since most interns receive either a small salary or no salary at all, it is essential to manage these resources wisely. Washington, D.C. can be an expensive and exhausting city if you do not plan accordingly.
When you get a Metro pass, make sure you get a Monthly Unlimited Pass. If you are within walking distance to your office and need the metro for meetings and excursions, store around $30-$50 each month.
Explore the City
Do not be afraid to embrace your inner tourist, especially if this is your first time in D.C. Take your time to visit the museums and historic sites, many of which are free or affordable. All Smithsonian Museums are free, as well as all memorials.
Additionally, if you have the opportunity, witnessing the president lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and speak at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery is an unforgettable experience. It is a patriotic day that honors those who sacrificed their lives for our country.
Professional Development and Networking
One of the greatest resources conservative and center-right interns can have in D.C. is the Leadership Institute, which has training sessions throughout the year and most, if not all, are free to interns. Consider attending their Conservative Intern Workshop, which provides you with information and resources on how to maximize your experience in Washington, D.C.
You can also attend the organization’s flagship training, the Youth Leadership School, which is known as the “bootcamp of youth politics” and prepares young people on how to become an effective leader for causes and candidates.
The Leadership Institute can also help you with your resume and preparation on applying to jobs and other internships, so it is great to use them as a resource.
Networking is also a crucial aspect of your time in D.C., but it is important to prioritize the events you attend. There are networking events that include socializing, others that have guest speakers, and some are career fairs and conferences.
When you go to networking events this summer, you should consider attending America’s Future’s events, including Welcome to Washington, and do not forget to get involved with and attend events organized by Rules of Networking.
Do not forget to proactively set up meetings with people. Ask them about what they do for their jobs and gain insights into potential career paths. Additionally, building connections with professionals can open doors to job opportunities.
Even when you are settled in your career, it is vital to still learn about other jobs and continue developing your skills. You may be a good fit for a specific office or organization, but the staff may offer you a different position, or require you to perform other tasks. Your position can also change over time.
Enjoy the City
It is so important to not just explore the city and build your career, but you should also build a group of friends and colleagues. Having your D.C. circle can be vital to you wherever you end up in the future.
Above all, enjoy your time in D.C.!