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With the awesome internship experience drawing to a close, I thought it would be fitting to describe what it’s like behind the scenes of a typical week here in DC. I know I’ve found myself asking how on earth we manage to balance 4 days of work, 3 units of study and still find time to chill together as the tight knit group we are!

The first day of the week is a long one for us DC kids. Most of us are utterly exhausted after a full-day’s work from 9-5 followed by a 3hr seminar on US Congress from 6.30-9.30. Yet, a lone few, a brave few, muster the energy to cross the road to the YMCA after class to work-off the ‘pleasant’ diet we are treated to here in the US and play some ball with the locals. Our makeshift squad of 5 (Trevor, Tom, James, Jason and myself) has definitely earned its stripes on the courts of the YMCA gymnasium, facing stiff opposition from guys who have obviously been overlooked for a spot in the NBA. Throughout the internship, the YMCA has been our getaway from work and study and a good way to catch up with US mates, even serving as a venue for a few US vs AUS themed games.
We’ll probably head to the gym 3-4 nights a week. It closes at 10.30, but they don’t kick us out until 10.45 so we won’t get started on any work till about 11.30. Trevor and I usually chill with some music in the background before we arrive at the conclusion that we should probably get started on our weekly readings or ‘that stuff that’s due next week’. Being the studious pupils we are, the room goes silent, and not a sound is heard but for the infrequent snort of laughter which tells you the other person has been weak by checking facebook or the sound of our roomates watching TV.

This is the norm from Mon-Wed, because since we have Friday’s completely off, we usually leave Thursday nights free for an outing with most of the Usyd group or when we’re a little more strapped for cash- a house party at someone’s apartment. Both are great ways to end our working week.
Nobody wakes up before midday on Friday, the inevitable result of operating on 6 hours of sleep for most of the week. It is also generally accepted that no work is done on Friday, so if we plan to do a bit of tourism or have another house party/get together everyone joins in. Saturday is much the same, but if we can, we try to fit in a bit of work in between outings which range from trying out a local café to taking some snaps around DC. It’s an often minimal amount to feel like you’ve earned the right to kick back for the rest of the day. We may go out for dinner before heading back for yet another house party with our UC friends who are shocked to find out we have been letting loose since Thursday! Music flashbacks from the 90’s are definitely the go and the karaoke that follows has been known to keep us up into the early hours of the morning.

Sundays are the ‘get as much work as you can day’, and whatever other errands you need to complete (shopping, laundry etc). Besides the weeknights, it is definitely the most productive I am all week for my uni subjects. Those of us who have common subjects might have a group study session but with the hectic week looming once more, we all button down and make sure that stuff that was due ‘next week’ is actually done. Needless to say, facebook activity is kept to a bare minimum.

We really do ride the cattle at both ends here in DC, because from Mon-Thurs it’s usually a strict work-study schedule but then the weekend officially begins after 9pm on Thursday (when my middle east class finishes). The good thing is you don’t feel like you’re missing out when you are studying/finishing that paper, for hours on end because we all seem to coordinate a time to finish our work and then conveniently come together when it’s all done. There are definitely things that you need to fit in, like calling home or celebrating your roomates’ 21st birthday but as long as you keep up with deadlines (and watch your budget), you can expect to have a blast in DC!

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