CHIP, Washington offers reality check

CHIP, Washington offers reality check

by Janine Kobylinski

As many of you already know, I am spending the semester interning in Washington, D.C., in the Senate as a legislative intern. You may be wondering what D.C. is all about, so luckily I will oblige and fill you all in.

In my first couple of years at Simpson, I had heard about the Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP), and I knew I wanted to participate. As a political science major, it was the perfect fit for me. Simpson prepared me well, but I’m not sure I knew what I was getting myself into working a 9 a.m.-6 p.m. job, taking classes and moving to D.C. without knowing anyone.

As far as learning while I am in D.C., trust me when I say I have done plenty of that. Not only do I attend classes just like I did at Simpson, I am also learning all about the city itself, the metro system, the culture, and much, much more.

First, working in a congressional office is a very rewarding experience. It is a once in a lifetime experience that you will always remember. I have the opportunity to work on many different projects and build many different skills that will help me in my future endeavors.

Second on the list is metro 101. Note to self, never use the left side of the escalator unless you are walking. If you’re planning a trip to D.C., I also recommend bringing some hand sanitizer—you don’t know what has been on those poles. Lastly, have a map and be prepared to get lost. It took me over a week to learn how the metro system works.

Next, let me discuss the nightlife. I know the options in Indianola can be limited, so I suggest making a visit to D.C. I must warn you though, not everyone is as friendly and trustworthy as people in good ‘ole Iowa. My second weekend in D.C. I learned the hard way what it’s like to be phoneless. Note to self, hang onto your belongings and stay in control of yourself.

As far as adventures around the city go, there are many activities you must partake in and sights you must see during your time in D.C. Having only been in the city for a little over a month, I have not been everywhere, but here are some of my most memorable moments and fun activities to do:

1. You must rent a bike and ride around the city looking at the monuments. Just a friendly reminder to abide by the same rules as cars and stay to the side of the road.

2.   Freemasons. We all want to meet one and I know just the place for that. The George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria. Tours are only $5 and you learn a lot about George Washington and the freemasons.

3. Visiting the monuments at night is fantastic and is an absolute must. The lighting makes them very beautiful. If you can only visit during the day, try to make it while the Cherry Blossoms are blooming. They are also very beautiful.

4. If you are here during the week, you must attend happy hour at least once. It is the thing to do after work in D.C. and is one of the best ways to socialize here.

5.  If you are planning on moving to D.C. and need groceries, I suggest a quick trip to Target and then ordering your groceries online and having them delivered. I know this seems insanely lazy, but trust me. There is not a WalMart in D.C., and it is not fun to take armload of groceries on the metro, therefore getting your groceries delivered is the way to go.

D.C. is a fantastic place to spend a semester and I would recommend the CHIP program to anyone. I have learned so much at the office and in my travels around the city and I have only been here for a little over a month. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about anything else.