How to Optimize Your Time in D.C.

5 Helpful Tips To Make The Most Out Of A Day In D.C.

Here's some important things to keep in mind when trying to optimize your time in the Nation's capital.


With more than 22 million visitors in 2017, it's safe to say that D.C. is a great place for tourists to sightsee, explore, have fun, and learn about all the Nation's capitol has to offer. These tips are great guides for how to navigate this amazing city and really get the most out of going to D.C.

Plan your transportation beforehand.

Public Transit in D.C.

This map of the D.C. Metrorail is available in all Metro Stations when planning out your trip.

DC Metro Map

Traveling via the D.C. Metro system is a great (and cheap!) option for people who are somewhat familiar with the layout of the city. However, don't fret! Riding the metro isn't as confusing as the map might make it seem, and it's a quick way to get from point A to point B for a few dollars. I would recommended a Metrorail Pocket Guide, which tells you which Metro Station is closest to the most popular points of interest in the District. Also, using websites like Trip Planner will tell you how to get around DC using public transit.

A few things to note about the metro are:

- Certain times of day are more expensive (peak times) a certain stations than others (off peak times), often by a few cents more.

- If you aren't traveling on a weekday, be aware that weekends are typically for maintenance which could lead to delays in your trip.

- STAND ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ESCALATOR. Please, for your own sake, adhere to the right side. Busy Metro Riders WILL bombard you if you occupy the left side of the escalator and happen to be in their way.

- If you're riding Metro to and from a popular event in which the Metro will receive many riders, it's best to put enough fare on your card to get back aboard metro to avoid long fare lines at the conclusion of the event.

Good food doesn't always have to be expensive.

Food Trucks in D.C.

L'Enfant Plaza has a bustling food truck scene during lunch times on weekdays with diverse food and great prices.

Food Trucks in D.C.

One thing about the District to note is its incredible diversity. This diversity is reflected is a food truck scene that is second to none, where you can find everything from Turkish food to Tex-Mex all on the same street. You may hear a lot about the extremely good, but arguably overpriced food joints that D.C. has to offer, like Shake Shack (where one sandwich can cost upwards of $8) and Milk Bar (where a small ice cream is $7). While these places offer pretty good bites, the vast amounts of food trucks offer unbelievable meals and outstanding portions for half the price of the alternatives.

My favorite place to eat when I'm in D.C. during the week are the food trucks outside the L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station, which is smack-dab in the middle of 5 different Metro lines (So if you're traveling via Metro, see if you'll be passing through!). I recall getting an amazing deal of $8 for 3 humungous tacos, which I personalized from the food truck's comprehensive menu of options. Lunch time will never be the same after you experience this.

D.C. has much to offer in many different neighborhoods.

D.C. Neighborhoods

It's often easiest (and cheapest) to stay within a certain vicinity and do events in proximal neighborhoods.

D.C. Neighborhood Map

Although D.C. is only 61 miles of land in its entirety, it can be pretty expansive to those who are unfamiliar. Within its 8 different wards, D.C. is divided into many different neighborhoods. These neighborhoods have many different attractions in particular, such as Georgetown with its Federal-style architecture and beautiful view of the Potomac River, or Woodley Park with its urban hiking and biking trails.

For the sake of ease (and money), I would recommend checking out what attractions are popular or intriguing at the specific neighborhood (or surrounding 'hoods) that you are going to. This will help ensure that you're not planning to do events in neighborhoods with a great distance in between and will save you some dollars in transportation from attraction to attraction.

Some of the coolest exhibits are seasonal.

Temporary Exhibit at Hirshhorn

Not all exhibits are permanent, like this LEGO one by Ai WeiWei, that was at the Hirshhorn from July 2017 to January 2018.

Ai WeiWei Trace Exhibit

Not everything is there to stay in the District! Often times, exhibits at museums, sculptures in public spaces, and bigger events like festivals and celebrations are only happening for a short amount of time. If something sparks your interest and you want to be sure not to miss it, a quick Google search should yield the duration of the exhibit or event so you can be aware of how long you have to see it until something leaves the District.

However, this is perhaps one of the best things about the District! Frequently, museums (like my favorite art museum, the Hirshhorn) have collections that change every few months, so there's always something new to see!

Bring your camera & wear a cute outfit!

Instagrams in D.C.

You can never go wrong with a cute outfit and a beautiful city as your backdrop.

Instagram in D.C.

How can I write about D.C. without mentioning all the amazing Instagram-worty photo ops? D.C. is practically brimming with ideal photo locations and amazing scenery! Whether you're pretending to pinch the top of the Washington Monument, imitating Dr. Martin Luther King's power stance, or sitting at the foot of Abe Lincoln, you don't want to be the one to miss an opportunity to strike a pose. For those especially seasoned photographers, you'll definitely want to bring your camera to snap amazing photographs of some of the most beautiful and historically influential architecture.

It's best to dress comfortably, as it's very typical to be doing lots of walking while in the District. However, a well-fitting jacket and swapping those sweatpants for a nice pair of jeans will definitely go a long way in getting those well deserved Instagram likes.

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Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Because most other majors can't kill someone accidentally by adding wrong.

College is hard. Between studying for numerous amounts of tests and balancing eating, working out, maintaining a social life, and somehow not breaking your bank account, it’s no wonder a common conversation among students is “how many mental breakdowns did you have this week?” Every major will pose its own challenges; that’s truth. Nursing school, however, is a special kind of tough that only other nursing majors can understand.

SEE ALSO: Quit Bashing Radford University

Nurses are the backbone and unsung hero of healthcare. Their job is to advocate for the patient, collaborate care among all other healthcare team members, carry out physician orders, recognize and report patient progress (or lack thereof), run interference for the patient with any unwanted visitors, research and validate evidence based practice, all while maintaining a certain aurora of confidence for patients and their loved ones that “everything will be okay” and “I’ve got this under control”. If that sounds like a lot; that’s because it is. The majority of skills that we learn that make good nurses cannot actually be taught in theory classes. It’s the hours of actual practice and a certain knack for caring for people- all people- that makes a good nurse great. The countless, unrelenting hours that are spent on the floor in clinical humble us, we know that we’re not great yet, but we’re trying.

Our professors expect us to be humble as well. Nurses do not seek gold stars for their actions, instead the precedence that is set for us to that we “do the right thing because it is the right thing to do”. Most nursing programs grading scales are different. To us, a failing grade isn’t actually getting a 69 or lower, it’s an 80. And that makes sense; no one would want a nurse who only understand 70% of what is happening in the body. We have to understand the normal body response, what happens when things go wrong, why it happens the way it does, and how to properly intervene. We want to learn, it interests us, and we know that the long theory classes and the hard days on the floor are just to make us better. However, any triumph, anytime you do well, whatever small victory that may feel like for you, it just what is supposed to happen- it’s what is expected, and we still have much to learn.

I look back on my decision to take on nursing school, and I often find myself questioning: why? There are so many other majors out there that offer job security, or that help people, or would challenge me just as much. But, when I think of being a nurse- it’s what fulfills me. There’s something that the title holds that makes me feel complete (and that same fact is going to resonate with anyone who wants to love their job). I wouldn’t change the decision I made for anything, I love what I am learning to do and I feel that it’s part of what makes me who I am. The other students who I have met through nursing school are some of the most amazing people I have ever come into contact with, and the professors have helped me understand so much more about myself than I thought possible.

Nursing is treating and understanding the human response. Meaning that it’s not just the disease process, or the action of the medication, or the care that we provide, but that nurses treat the way in which people deal, react, feel, and cope with good news, bad news, terrible procedures, hospital stays and being completely dependent on other people. And the fact of the matter is that all people are different. There is no one magic treatment that will always work for every patient. In addition to course work, the clinical hours, the passion and drive to want to be a nurse, and the difficulty that comes with any medical profession, we have to understand each individual patient, as people and not their illness. And, in order to do that so much self discovery goes on each day to recognize where you are and how you are coping with everything coming your way.

What is taught in nursing school goes far beyond just textbook information or step by step procedures. We have to learn, and quickly, how to help and connect with people on a level which most struggle to accomplish in a lifetime. It's a different kind of instruction, and it either takes place quickly or not at all. The quality of nurse you become depends on it. Nursing school is different, not harder or better than any other school, just different.

SEE ALSO: Stop Putting Down Radford University

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Body Image Lessons That I Didn't Learn From A Professor

What I realized about body image my freshman year of college


Girls usually struggle with self image in general. But the game changes when it's time to go to college. When you are constantly surrounded by your peers, you begin to compare all of the little things they do to you. You compare their bodies to yours. You try to figure out what they are doing that you're not. Or vice versa, why they don't have to do anything to look the way they do. But by the end of my first year, I realized that I would never be happy with myself if I kept thinking this way. So I recorded some realizations I had throughout the year that helped me to improve my body image.

My body is, and never will be the same as any other girl... and that's okay

Different sized and shaped strawberries

It can be so easy in college to compare your body to the girls that surround you. Like the one's live with and you see on a daily basis. There is no point in comparing apples to oranges, so why would you compare your body to a girl who was made completely different? So what you can't fit into her party pants, you can rock another pair just as well.

What works for her, might not work for me

Daily Planner

With different body types, comes different food and exercise needs. Some girls don't need to work out or eat healthy to keep a slim frame. Some girls are naturally muscular. Your routine needs to be catered to you, and there is no need to analyze what someone else eats or does to try to attain their stature. You have to do what feels right for YOUR body to have a good self image.

Don't spend too much time on istagram

Obviously social media effects our body image because of how easily and frequently photos are edited and then presented for the most likes. So if there is a certain account that always makes you feel bad when you see their content, unfollow, and take that aspect out of your life. However, because social media is unavoidable you can't completely escape all the provoking images. So when scrolling, think positively about those who's pictures you see, don't compare, and be aware of the previous lessons.

It's okay for your body to fluctuate

The weight and look of your body can easily fluctuate, It's just natural. And in the same way your life fluctuates, your body may follow along and thats not a big deal! In exam season, there might not be enough time to go to the gym everyday. Or during the holidays there might be an increase of indulgence in treats. But its all okay as long as your getting things done or enjoying life. The only time it becomes an issue if the fluctuations turn unhealthy.

Cut out the negativity

If a friend is constantly complaining to you about their body, it can trigger distress in you, and set you back. So if someone else's body image issues are interfering with you mentally, you need to call them out on their B.S. or stop allowing them say those things in front of you.

Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in

If you wear things that you feel comfortable in, then you wont constantly be thinking about how your stomach, legs, or arms look throughout the day. Wear something that you are confident in, even if it means wearing leggings every day of the week!

I'm not a little kid anymore, therefore my body is not going to look like one

Curves and changes that come after high school can take anyone by surprise, but it's supposed to happen. You can't really be mad at can only find the beauty in it.

Everyone has their own insecurities

Even if someone has your ideal body, odds are they still despise theirs. I have met friends in college that are stick skinny, yet are self conscious about it. I know curvy girls that are very insecure. And even an "average" body type has a thousand things that they nit-pick about themselves. No one has their dream body and never will, which is why I had to learn to love the little things about mine.

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