With only four weeks left of my internship to go (!!!), I thought I might share with everyone some knowledge I have gathered about how to survive in DC. Cities are very similar in many ways, but in others, they are extremely different, and this is a post that compiles some of the things one should know about how to blend in in DC.
1. Wear a lanyard
If you’re going to be a true DC-er, you need to wear a lanyard. Constantly. This is indeed one of the ways you can inject a little bit of personality and differentiate yourself from the pack of other professionals in the constant stream of the Metro during peak hours – colors and styles may differ (many proudly representing the company they work for, or the college they went to most frequently), but everyone in this city wears a lanyard. If you’re not working here, you’re a tourist.
2. Get business-y
On a similar note, DC is the most professional city I’ve ever been in. Chicago, for the most part, has a mix of all kinds of people – students, homeless people on the train, odd-looking hipsters, you name it. DC has people in suits. No lies. Every morning when you see people walking around, they’re either in suits or in sandals and socks. You get one guess as to what people are doing here.
3. Carry an umbrella
It doesn’t actually rain that often (as least as far as I’ve been here) despite the constant oppressive dampness that hangs in the air, but more than any other place I’ve been to, people carry umbrellas to shield themselves from the heat. Also a great thing to have in case the sky does open up. You know, preparedness.
4. Jaywalk like a boss
Like in most cities, jaywalking is pretty much a way of life. So is crossing the street with as little time as possible left on the walk signal (just so you know, you can’t cross Independence Ave in under 7 seconds unless you want people honking at you and threatening to run you over … definitely did not learn this from personal experience). And it’s no different in DC. There’s no point in waiting for the walk signal if there are no cars coming – we’re young professionals with places to go and people to see.
5. Measure things in Washington Monuments
Everything here is measured in comparison to the Washington monument. Get used to it.
There are also many more things that, in all honesty, I am just too lazy to write out here. But the summer is almost over, which is insane, and in exactly a month, I’ll be flying to the UK.
Here’s to adventures!