Due to increasing COVID-19 concerns, this establishment is temporarily closed or not operating in its normal capacity until further notice.
These seem to be words that have become far too familiar to us and the rest of the world over these last few months. With most of our country being in a state of slow reopening, most of the everyday things and activities we’ve become so accustomed to have been limited or scaled back to some degree. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of the situation by striving to find the little silver linings that are still all around us. Through this internship we have a unique opportunity to be living in the heart of our nation’s capital and only have but a few months to take advantage of it. Even though not everything here is fully open and operational just yet, I still plan to make my time here a great adventure. So here is some of my advice of how I have been able to make the most of a socially distant district.
- Find some fun outdoor spaces and explore!
We happen to have an Aggie cohort that loves to be active and outside, so one of the first daytrips we took outside of the city was visiting Shenandoah National Park. This park is roughly a two-and-a-half-hour drive into northern Virginia and it was worth every second of the journey. We went on a gorgeous scenic hike to the highest peak in the national park and it was a beautiful escape into nature and it was very breathtaking to see such a pretty part of this side of the country. Any chance you can get to get out and see new parts of the area, I highly encourage it! There is so much more places to explore and see around us than you think!
- Do you research and make some reservations!
Whether it be restaurants in the area that are starting to have their dining rooms open up again or museums and exhibits that have limited occupational capacities, there are still plenty of places to go visit during these unprecedented times. When I say do your research, look into what is and isn’t open around the city and make reservations ahead of time to secure a time to go venture with your friends and enjoy what the DMV area still has to offer!
- Make the National Mall your favorite picnic location!
One of DC’s constants during this pandemic has been the National Mall stretch. Thanks to it being completely outdoors and having plenty of room to be socially distant, one of the capital’s monumental staples is still free and available for the public to see and enjoy. This nearly two mile park is home to many of our nation’s most famous monuments, mixed in with a few reflection pools and lots of stretches of grass which are the perfect set up for a picnic or a day off from work. One of my favorite things that we have done since being here is we had a just girl’s day where we made a charcuterie board and ate it right under the Washington Monument. Talk about a one-of-a-kind view. It’s the simple things like that lead to the best of days and memories made with friends!
- Get outside your comfort zone and make new friends and connections!
One of the neatest parts of the ANRP/PPIP programs is that you get to live with other Aggies. Moving to an entirely different city halfway across the country can definitely be intimidating so it’s such a great comfort to be surrounded by other Aggies that are facing the same transition as you, it’s like already having a built in support system. As easy as it is to just hang out with the friends from the A&M cohort, I challenge you to still get outside of your comfort zone and get to know new people in and around the area. Whether that be other Aggies that are outside the cohort on the hill, or some of your fellow interns in your office, take advantage of every opportunity to network and make a new friend. You never know where that relationship or interaction may take you later in life, especially if you make your way back to DC later down the road.
- Take advantage of the Metro not being crowded!
This is one of the only things I think we can truly thank COVID-19 for. With most people and companies choosing to telework in the city until the end of the calendar year, that makes DC’s famous public transportation system far less crowded than normal. This makes for peaceful and easy commutes to and from work and less impacted peak travel times. Also who doesn’t love having the assurance of always being able to find a seat while riding the Metro.
- *BONUS* For those that are working on the hill in person, use that intern badge to its fullest potential!
The Capitol, House, and Senate buildings may be closed to the public but if you happen to be fortunate enough to be working in person in one of them, explore! Take that extra walk back from lunch and see the unseen parts of our nation’s capital, ask your supervisor to give you a tour of where you work. This may be one of the only times in your life where you will have this type of opportunity and access to see these neat places where history is quite literally made every day. Show off that intern badge and enjoy the ride and the perks that come along with it!
At the end of the day, this internship is completely what you make of it so why not make the best of it! Sure, COVID-19 has certainly altered some of the normalcy that would traditionally come along with this program but that doesn’t make this particular experience any less special. Take advantage of all that you can in the city but most of all enjoy yourself, embrace the journey, and make DC your home for the time being!
House Committee on Agriculture – minority office
Washington, D.C. | fall 2020