DC internships are precious, and whether you’re working on the Hill, in a law firm, a federal department, or a private company, you want to make the most of your time in DC and of your internship in general. Most of us are not privileged to live in DC year round. While all internships are great starting points, there seems to be something special about a DC internship. Maybe it is because as young people interested in politics there is no better place to be than in our nation’s capital. Maybe it is because Congress seems to be acting up every other week. Maybe it’s because we love the mugginess of living near the Potomac. Whatever it is that draws us here, we are determined to make the most of our time at our DC internships. If you’re looking for the ultimate list of how to make the most of your own DC internship, look no further.

 

1) Local conferences

The DC area serves as the hub for many national organizations that you likely have participated in on campus or heard or, including the College Republicans, Young America’s Foundation, Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, Eagle Forum and more. They know that the summer months bring a lot of young, conservative interns to the city, so they host conferences that will attract students around the country but also from right here in the city. Take advantage of your proximity by attending this events whenever possible! Usually, your supervisors will give you time off to attend, but many local conferences also host evening events for those who can’t get away from the office during the day.

2) Think Tank Talks

Everyone likes lunch, and since DC is ripe with interns and other professionals that are seeking lunch plans, many think tanks offer lunch time talks. What could be better than policy talks at lunch augmented with Chick-Fil-A or pizza or some other nutritional offering? Think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, CATO Institute, and the American Enterprise Institute, among others, offer a plethora of events, but especially lunch time talks on issues like the Iran deal, Obamacare, the Federal Election Commission, and free speech on college campuses. You’ll definitely get a lunch break, so why not take advantage of it and hit up an event where you’ll learn something and leave with a full stomach?

 

3) Happy Hours

Everyone loves a good glass of wine and a networking opportunity, so take advantage of the DC vibe by combining them. Young professional in DC love to network almost as much as they love to drink, so happy hours are plentiful across the city. Many times, organizations will sponsor happy hours either separately from or in conjunction with conferences and larger events. Happy hours are the perfect place to get a free drink and network. Bring your business cards and count that class of wine as a work related beverage. There is a reason that happy hours are so popular. Once you’re out of college, it is hard to meet people. That’s where happy hours come into play. Learn the game now and you’ll be better prepared for a future full of happy hours. Plus, who doesn’t love to meet their favorite young politicos over a glass of wine?

4) Museums

How can you be in DC and not visit the Smithsonian museums? Tourists from all over the world flock to DC for them, so you might as well venture over during your time in DC. Whether you love science or art or history or a combination of them all, the Smithsonian has something for you. Every day is a day where you can learn something new, or a day where you can bask in the glory of a portrait you studied in AP art history or an ancient artifact that you have no idea even existed. You have no excuse not to check out at least a few of the Smithsonian museums or the plethora of other museums in DC while you’re in town. Have you been to the Newseum? You have to go! People spend tons of money to get the chance to come to DC to visit these museums, so don’t throw away your chance when you’re just a metro ride away.

 

5) Coffee dates

The reason many of us choose internships in DC is because this is where we see ourselves after college. We see the people we aspire to be working in DC, so we try to follow in their footsteps. If you really are set on making a life in DC after school, then take advantage of your internship in the city to talk to the people who have already gotten to where you want to be. It can seem really daunting (and often expensive) to ask your mentors or role models to dinner, but if someone is really committed to bettering the next generation of young conservatives, and you ask nicely, they will definitely meet you for coffee or drinks. It is far more casual, which can be good for first meetings, and allows you to get your caffeine fix while talking to someone successful about their career, their college experiences, or their path in DC. Don’t feel like you have to be best friends with someone to ask them on a coffee date. If you got a business card for them, reach out with an invitation. No one will turn down free coffee or a chance to network and mentor, so don’t be afraid to try.

6) Library of Congress and the Archives

Maybe my nerdiness is showing now, but how can you call yourself a political aficionado if you have no interest in checking out relics of historical politics? Not only are the Library of Congress and the National Archives amazingly beautiful buildings, they also house some great treasures from our nation’s history. Head over to the Library of Congress and the Archives and become card-carrying members of history. There are very few things more illuminating than holding in your hands historical documents related to the building of our great nation and its history since. You won’t get that chance anywhere else in this nation.

 
Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member