If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question this summer, I’d be one rich intern. Coworkers, friends, parents, and everyone in between have all asked. Many have gone further to ask the more daunting question, “Are you going move to DC after graduation?”
Well the short answer to that question is, I really don’t know. Yes, I have enjoyed my time living and working in DC, but just like any city, there are upsides and downsides to living here. So as a mental exercise for myself and as entertainment for you, I’m going to go through the pro and cons, in my opinion, of living in our nation’s capital.
1. Public Transit: The Metro system in DC is one of the best in the country. During rush hour, trains are running every 2 to 3 minutes, whisking you off to work while you sip coffee and read The Washington Post. There’s no sitting on I-10 waiting for an accident to be cleared up or fighting for a parking space at the office.
2. Policy Wonks: It’s sort of like being at the LBJ School, but scaled-up to city size. Everywhere you turn, you can find someone who wants to discuss politics, policy, or government. It is exciting to know there are so many people as passionate and interested in the same issues that you are. It also makes networking opportunities limitless.
3. Extracurriculars: DC has some fantastic restaurants, bars, professional sports teams, music venues, museums, and theaters and most of them are targeted towards the 20 to 30-something crowd.
So if you’re trying to get home after a late night out or going to meet a friend on a Saturday afternoon, sometimes you can’t help but wish you could hop in your car and drive yourself.
1. Public Transit: Although the DC Metro will definitely get you to work and back on time (most days), the late evenings and weekends are rife with track work that severely limit and delay the frequency of tra
2. Policy Wonks: Sometimes you just don’t feel like talking about your or someone else’s work. DC never turns off the policy switch and everywhere you go;, from the gym, to happy hour, to a National’s game, people are talking about what they do and how important it is.
3. Tourists: Tourists arrive on massive tour buses and travel in packs wearing the same neon color shirt. On weekends and holidays, they crowd the Metro, the sidewalk, and the museums. This seriously detracts from Pros #1 and #3 listed above.
Sure I’ve oversimplified a bit here, but you get the idea. Also, although this has been fun, it certainly hasn’t helped me gain any clarity on where I want to live after grad school. I guess it’s a good thing I still have a year to figure it out.