I’m lucky enough to be able to live at home during my internship, so I don’t have to pay rent during both the summer and the school year. Since I am from central Maryland, it is fairly common for people who live in my area to commute to Washington D.C. and northern Virginia on a daily basis for work. While I was aware of this on a theoretical level, in the weeks leading up to my internship I had no idea what commuting everyday would look like for me.
I don’t own a car, but I was fortunately able to find a commuter bus that picks up at a local mall and has a stop right in front of my office. At $5 per trip, the cost of taking the bus quickly adds up, so the LSA Opportunity Hub Scholarship definitely helped to make using the bus more accessible.
Although the bus’s route is very convenient for me, commuting has still been tough. My office’s hours are 9-5, but my days start by leaving my house at 7:05 so I can make the 7:25 bus. Since there is heavy traffic on the way to DC during rush hour, I often arrive at work around 9:15. Luckily everyone in my office has been understanding of my situation, so they’re fine with me arriving a few minutes late. On my way back home, the bus ride is usually more timely, so if I leave the office around 5, I am able to make it back home by 6:30. I’m thankful that I don’t have to drive through the rush hour traffic myself and that I didn’t have to find an apartment in DC, but being at work/commuting for almost 12 hours a day was very tiring at first.
Now that I only have a few more weeks at my internship, I have gotten used to the commute and it has made me a lot more comfortable with utilizing the different public transit options available in DC. My first big test in this regard was in mid-June. After the Capitals’ won the Stanley Cup, a parade was held that blocked many of the city’s major streets, so none of the commuter buses were driving into DC. Since I wasn’t aware of this change ahead of time, I was surprised when the bus driver told us all to get off the bus while we were still a city away from my usual stop. However, since I had become more aware of the geography of and around DC, I was able to find my way into work and arrive even earlier than I usually do. After this experience, I began to enjoy the commute to and from work a little more as I got more familiar with the city and started to have a more detailed mental-map of DC.