Adjusting to the Life of an Intern

6:15 AM BUZZZZZZZZZZZ

Snooze

6:30 AM BUZZZZZZZZZZZ

Snooze

6:45 AM BUZZZZZZZZZZZ

While the snooze button may seem like an intern’s best friend in the morning, the dangerous dance with this button can potentially be the beginning to a day full of metro delays and missed trains. Interning in Washington, DC is an invaluable experience. However, adjusting from the life of a college student to a full time intern can be difficult.

During an interview for an internship, I had the opportunity to ask the previous intern a few questions. I asked him if he had any advice for adjusting to DC and working. He told me that the hardest part was adjusting his sleep cycle. At first, I did not understand what he meant. Then, a few days into my internship, I completely understood. As a student, you may not have classes all day and can often stay up very late at night. As an intern, you often work from 9 AM to 5 PM and return home exhausted. You might even have a commute that makes your hours away from home longer.

This was just one of the many lessons I have learned thus far. After two weeks of trials and tribulations, I complied the five most important lessons I have learned about adjusting to life as an intern.

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  1. Give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B

Sure, Google Maps might say that your commute is only 15 minutes. But on the Metro, 15 minutes could easily turn into 20 or 25 with delays. Leaving five or ten minutes early gives you some buffer time and means you will not be running into your office.

 

  1. Avoid the snooze button

I think my roommates at school must have hated me because I am an avid fan of the snooze button. However, dipping in and out of sleep can leave your body confused. The snooze button can confuse your internal clock, leaving you groggy for the rest of the day. Instead, try to set one (or if you have to, two) alarms and wake up at the same time every day

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  1. Befriend your fellow interns

If you are lucky to work in an office with multiple interns, get their phone number, add them on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram. These people are going through the exact same experience as you and probably have similar interests. Work is so much more fun when you have some friends. At my internship, there are groups of interns spread through multiple offices. My favorite part of the day is lunch, when we all meet in the cafeteria to compare our days and share funny stories.

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  1. Don’t buy too many groceries at one time

On my first day in DC, I spent way too much money on groceries. While I definitely ate everything I bought, transporting the groceries from Target to my apartment was a nightmare. My friend and I had so many bags, we had to take an uber back instead of walking. A great way to manage your grocery shopping is to take reusable bags to the grocery stores so that you cannot buy more than you can fit in the bags.

 

  1. Explore the city!

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Every day when I walk to the metro after work, I call my dad. He asks me the same question, “how was your day?” Every day, I answer the same way, “amazing.” I love the place where I work and I love this city. However, I found it very difficult to make time to explore the city. My friends and I decided to make a “DC Bucket List” that is full of places to see – like the monuments, museums, and art galleries – and places to eat. Every weekend, we have decided to check off at least two or three things on our list. Interning in the capitol is an amazing experience, but make sure you take the time to fully appreciate everything DC has to offer.

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