The biggest town I had ever lived in before this summer was Lubbock, so moving to the metropolis of the DMV (D.C.-Maryland-Virginia) was a little bit of a shock. After a month of living here, I think I’ve got it down. Here are 5 things I have learned in my first month of city living:
- You can’t buy a lot of groceries at once. More importantly, you will have to lug your groceries to and from the Metro, then up to your apartment. Your shoulders will thank you if you try to limit how much you buy. You will likely be sharing a fridge with several roommates, so you have to be conscious of the amount of space you have in your fridge. If it is anything like our apartment, you won’t have that much space. I try to stick to two bags whenever I go grocery shopping, which is about one of the handheld baskets at the store. Two bags of groceries go a long way, and they can last you about a full week if you’re smart about what your purchase. Making smart purchases requires planning and thinking it out beforehand. I try to plan easy lunches that require minimal prep in the morning and can be repeated, and I try to plan for two to three dinners each week.
- Even if you had a car, it is still sometimes faster (and cheaper) to use public transportation. I have always lived car-dependently back home. Here is a different story. While I did not bring my car up here this summer, I have a feeling I would not use my car very much if I did have it. The traffic here is usually backed up, so you spend a large chunk of time stuck in traffic. Parking is difficult to find in many areas, and you will likely have to walk for a little while after you park. It is also likely that you will have to pay to park, and your parking fees will likely be double or triple what a Metro fare would be. While the Metro sometimes feels inconvenient or untimely, it is a great resource. It is consistent and very accessible from almost anywhere in the DMV. The app is easy to use and allows you to track arrival times for trains. There are Metro stations all over D.C., so you can really get anywhere with the Metro. Utilize this resource. Besides, it can be a fun experience.
- You should still be kind and polite to people, even if they aren’t kind or polite to you. It makes you stand out in a good way. You’re certainly not in Texas anymore, and people are a little less kind up here. It is far less common for someone to hold the door for you or pick something you dropped up for you, but that does not mean you shouldn’t continue to do those things. Just because someone doesn’t hold the door for you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hold it for the person behind you. I believe it is always better to be kind and do that anyway. Compliment people in the elevator. Smile at a stranger on the street. It makes you feel better, and it’s a pretty high chance that it will make them feel good too.
- It is surprisingly easy to make friends in D.C., but the key is saying yes to plans and going out of your way to meet people. I have never really had a problem with social anxiety, which is fortunate for me. I was slightly nervous that I would have a hard time making friends outside of my cohort since I’ve never lived in a big city. However, most of the people here, especially interns, are looking to make friends also. Many of them are here on their own or live with strangers. Since I’ve been here, I have tried to say yes to any plans that people presented me with, and I’ve tried to be intentional about inviting people from outside my cohort to do things. There are so many opportunities for interns to network and meet other interns, but you have to be open to the opportunities.
- Make the most of your time in D.C. because it goes by quickly! I was apprehensive about this whole experience at first for many reasons (living in a city, a new job, etc.), but it has been a great experience. One of the things I was nervous about was having six roommates since I normally live alone, but I decided to lean into the experience and make the most of it. It has been a blast being surrounded by six great girls every day, and I am thankful for the time and memories we share. We have had so much fun hanging out together! Spend your Saturdays exploring the city, visiting museums and farmers markets, or checking out the local shopping. There’s so much to see and do in this city, so take any chance to do whatever you want in your free time!
House Agriculture Committee – majority office
Washington, D.C. | summer 2023