Must-see museums are closed, access to government buildings is limited, famous restaurants have closed their doors, and the metro has modified operating hours. What do we do now?
Interns in the Nation’s Capital typically see the hustle and bustle of a town on a mission. Housing the nation’s elected officials, top military leaders, numerous special interest groups, policymakers, and policy enforcers, Washington D.C. is usually packed full of events and exciting places to see. The current pandemic poses some changes to this typical schedule. However, with a little insight, there is still much to take advantage of in the capital!
Be sure to strap on your mask, and let’s see D.C.!
- Catch up on policy topics and the news
Whether it is watching the nightly news, tuning into your favorite podcast, reading the latest twitter post, or doing some background research, there is no better place to become more knowledgeable about current events and policy. If you are looking for more information, reach out to legislative assistants or other interns that can give you the up-to-date information on what is happening in the legislature. Pro tip! If you have friends in other congressional offices and special interest groups, it is a great conversation starter to see how their offices are approaching current policies or legislation.
- Reach out to a mentor or make a new connection
Emails, phone calls, zoom meetings, or even a walk in a local park! Washington D.C. is centered around networking and exploring new professions. If there is someone in town that has an interesting job or is an expert in a subject that intrigues you, do not hesitate to reach out to them. Typically, these opportunities to connect with other professionals are centered around grabbing coffee, but socially distancing is calling for a bit of creativity. We are all living in an odd time, and they will be impressed to see the effort you put in to meeting them!
- Read a book
With lots of beautiful parks and open spaces, picking up a book is never a bad idea. Even if you want to stay inside for a day, reading is a great way to relax and decrease your screen time.
- Beach Day! But make it socially distant
Maryland and Virginia are both known for some beautiful coastlines. If you or a fellow intern have the means to drive, do a little exploring and take a day trip to the coast. I recommend, if you are looking for a quiet beach, check out Bethany Beach in Delaware. It is about a 2-hour drive, but the countryside is beautiful to see on your way there! Pro tip! Invite interns from other schools or offices. They are wanting to explore and have fun during their internship just as much as you!
- Explore the Mall
Coronavirus, or not, exploring the National Mall is a must in D.C. With lots of open space, the National Mall allows you to see many of the historic buildings, monuments, and memorials that provide insight into American history. Evening walks down The Hill and night-time tours of the Washington Monument, World War II, Lincoln, Korean War, and Vietnam War Memorials are spectacular and humbling. But be careful! The metro only runs until 9:00 P.M.
- Bonus! Happy Independence Day!
If you find yourself in Washington D.C. on the 4th of July, the fireworks display on the National Mall is worth considering. In my opinion, they are spectacular! Be sure to arrive very early to get good seats away from other spectators. Also, a picnic blanket and cards (or dominos for our 42 friends, WHOOP!) are necessary for proper intern entertainment.
Let me leave you with these final words: Appreciate the time you have here and make the most of it! This is a situation unlike any other in recent history, and very few people will be able to say that they saw their government work under these conditions. It is different, but you are seeing history being made every single day. Stay safe and enjoy your time!
Office of Congressman Kevin Brady
Washington, D.C. | summer 2020