Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Monday, January 21, 2019

Guide To: Things I Wish I'd Known Before Coming to D.C.

Before coming to college and when first arriving, freshmen are bombarded with advice from upperclassmen and administrators. Just in case you want some more advice, we compiled a simple list of things we wish we had known before coming to AU. You don't have to listen to us, but hey, we've been here longer than you, and we might just be on to something.

Get a SmarTrip Card. It makes riding the Metro much more convenient, and you don't have to deal with flimsy paper cards that have to be refilled often. They cost $5. SmarTrip cards can be purchased at, Metro Headquarters (600 Fifth St., N.W.), Metro Center station, Metro Pentagon Sales Office or at over 400 retail locations that can be searched for on Metro's Web site.

Ride the bus. While the buses may look scary, it isn't the worst thing to ride them. They are fairly inexpensive ($1.25 a ride, plus a transfer if you ask), stop more places than the Metro and accept Smartrip cards. But they rarely run on schedule, so allow extra travel time. (Or, ride a bike. It makes getting around D.C. much easier and cheaper, plus it's great exercise.)

Don't be afraid to fly. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is the easiest airport to get to by Metro, but BWI and Dulles are also accessible. However, they require more travel time with multiple modes of transportation.

Carry I.D. at all times. Clubs always card. While most clubs have 18-to-enter policies, they will card you, so make sure to always carry a widely accepted form of I.D., such as a driver's license, and an AU I.D.

Visit Baltimore. Getting to Baltimore is easy and cheap, plus the Inner Harbor is a fun day trip. But remember - the MARC trains, Maryland's statewide rail system, don't run on weekends.

Watch baseball. Tickets to the Nationals game are generally cheap. The Metro stops at the stadium (Stadium Armory, blue and orange lines), and they are great ways to spend time outside.

Get internships. They are easier to get during the school year than during the summer and possible to do with a full course load. Internships can give you valuable work experience and connections to the working world. They can also help you figure out what you do, and don't, want to do when you grow up in four years.

Eat creatively in TDR. Try to make more complex meals from the ingredients on hand. For example, make a bagel breakfast sandwich. It will keep TDR more appealing throughout the semester.

Find local restaurants that give AU students discounts and perks. Balducci's (3201 New Mexico Ave. N.W.) is a great grocery store and deli just down the street from AU that gives students discounts when you show your AU ID at the register. Angelico's at the Tenleytown Metro allows students to use EagleBuck$.

Don't trust schedules. The AU shuttle does not always run according to schedule and takes varying amounts of time to get to Tenleytown. Leave extra early for an important appointment.

Get involved. Yeah, it's clich?, but it's an easy way to meet new people. Plus, clubs and activities are always great resume builders.

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