Tuesday, May 26, 2009

10 Tips for Future TWC Interns

Coming to Washington, DC and being a part of what The Washington Center has to offer will be an amazing experience. I provided some tips that I discovered to be very helpful during my semester in DC.

1. An umbrella is a necessity: DC weather can be unpredictable and you don’t want to be the one caught in the rain without an umbrella, especially if you’re on you way to work or going to a special event. If there’s even a slight chance for rain in the forecast, be sure to bring your umbrella. Better safe than sorry. Purchasing a pair of rain boots is not a bad idea either. It helped a great deal in keeping my feet and pants dry. Payless is a great place to look.

2. Keep to the right: I’m sure some people could tell when I was new to DC since I just didn’t know what I was doing on the Metro. What I quickly found out is that when using the escalators, you must stand to the right. During rush hour, people are in a hurry, trying to get to work or trying to get home. People will not hesitate to tell you to move over, or just blow past you. So to avoid the madness, just stand to the right.

3. Weekly pass: No matter what, using the Metro system will be costly, unless you’re fortunate to have your internship pay for your commute. To help me save money and time, I bought weekly passes. For $39, you get unlimited Metro rides for a full week. Just make sure you keep your pass away from your cell phone or other electronic devices which can deactivate it.

4. Make the best of DC: Washington, DC has so much to offer, and if you are new to the area like I was, you want to make sure you do as much as you can. I did a lot of touring and sightseeing at the beginning of my term, which was good, because my schedule was less hectic in the beginning. So get out and make the most of DC when you have the most spare time on your hands.
5. Network, Network, Network: This mantra will be stressed throughout the TWC events you attend. Networking is one of the most important factors in helping you get that job you’re in search of, or at least getting your name out there. Keep your business cards handy and don’t leave home without it. Because as they say, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

6. Experiences: Throughout your semester, you are bound to have a variety of experiences--some good, some bad and some just plain weird. But with all the experiences you encounter, consider them as a way to learn, reflect on them and grow.

7. Make Friends: That’s what it’s all about--meeting new people. In The Washington Center program, there are hundreds of students from all across the globe. You’ll be surprised by who you meet and the relationships you build. These friendships can last forever, so be sure to stay in touch.
8. Hunt for deals: Your time in DC will be costly, so try to look for the best ways you can save money. Get a grocery card, search online for specials and guest list passes, look through coupons, attend events with free food and bargain for the lowest price. It goes a long way.

9. Get it done ASAP: With The Washington Center, your internship, class, events and assignments, your schedule is sure to be pretty busy. Try to get your homework and assignments done as soon as possible. It helps to avoid staying up late nights and canceling out on other plans.

10. Be thankful: The Washington Center is a wonderful program that not everyone gets to experience. It’s an opportunity that can only open doors to other opportunities. Thank those who helped you along the way.