This past summer, I participated in a work study on Capitol Hill. I was given an apartment and a Metro Card, but not much in the line of advice. My main goal was to NEVER do something so embarrassingly wrong and be thought of as a tourist. I really just wanted to fit in and be a slocal (formally referred to as "summer local"). In the aftermath of my trip, I have put together a list of items that you should ALWAYS have on you when spending the summer in the nation's capital.
1. Phone wallet back
I was always skeptical about this particular trend, fearing my cards and license would get lost or stolen. But from one messy and unorganized girl to another, these wallets will save so much time and trouble when navigating the Metro. As any DC Metro regular will know, you have to scan your card when both entering and exiting the station. Slipping the card in your phone makes it much more accessible when exiting. These silicone wallets would have saved me a number of times while embarrassingly holding up the line to get out of the station while digging through my purse and wallet to find my card. Speaking of purses....
2. A LARGE purse
I am not a bag person. Because of this, I brought an envelope sized purse to carry around everything I valued. Bad decision. Contrary to the regular wallet, a pack of gum, and phone, you have much more to carry in a purse when living and working in DC. Summers in the city are hot and yucky, which requires a whole extra set of necessities. The first being a water bottle. Unless you're looking to pay $5 for a disposable water bottle or to drink warm, funny tasting water from the public water fountains, carrying your own bottle is a must.
The next warm-weather essential is your makeup. Foundation is not a fan of humidity and looking presentable requires routine touch-ups. I would also highly recommend a purse with a sturdy zipper. Between riding the Metro, walking around during rush hour, and putting your bag through hundreds of security scans, the contents of your bag are bound to be dumped everywhere if you're not careful. In addition to storing water and basic needs, a large purse allows you to easily keep an extra pair of shoes....
3. Extra shoes
I could wear heels ALL DAY LONG. In fact, I'm one of those weird people who LOVES wearing heels. Being 5'2, I essentially live my entire life in heels. But do you know who doesn't love heels? The cracked, uneven, and uprooted sidewalks of Washington, DC. I had no problems wearing heels at work all day, just walking to and from. The neglected sidewalks made walking around a total pain. So do you want to rock the heels at work but not want to die on the walk home? Stash a pair of flats in that handy dandy large purse.
4. Portable charger
It's really crazy. You know what else you can fit in that purse? A portable charger. Between following GPS directions, taking Snaps of absolutely everything, and navigating the Metro, a slocal's phone can die pretty quickly. A dead phone in an unknown city can lead to getting lost, which can lead to potentially dangerous situations. Throw in that portable charger and you'll never have to worry.
5. Your resume
It's DC. Everybody is somebody. It's absolutely crazy the people you'll run into by just being out and about. Whether you're riding the Metro, out for dinner, or just exploring the city, you're bound to run into someone who can help you career-wise. What's even crazier is how impressed they'll be when you whip our your resume. It might appear desperate from your point-of-view, but there is never any harm in trying. Just like how we students are always looking for opportunity, employers are always looking for talent.
Navigating DC as a student is hard enough as it is, so hopefully, this list will ease the process and lift some of the stress. Just remember, BRING A LARGE PURSE!