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For the newbies showing up to D.C. with their doe eyes, fresh backpacks and more dorm furniture than they could ever possibly need, welcome to the District of Columbia! We've put together a quick guide of everything you'll need to know to survive in our fair city. You're so welcome! (Image: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/ DC Refined) 

Back to School: A humorous guide to surviving college in D.C.

It’s fall in D.C. -- Congress is going to back to work (or as much work as they ever do), we can all stop worrying about showing up to meetings with back sweat and the college students are back in full force.

For the newbies showing up to D.C. with their doe eyes, fresh backpacks and more dorm furniture than they could ever possibly need, welcome to the District of Columbia! We've put together a quick guide of everything you'll need to know to survive in our fair city. You're so welcome!

  • D.C. is not a state and everyone here is really, really salty about it, which is why the local license plates say “Taxation without representation.” Go read about where D.C. sits with the federal government and you’ll be saltier than the girl with an umbrella on a Morton Salt container too.

  • A freshman course in international politics will probably make you feel like you can argue about the geopolitics of the Middle East with complete strangers, but don’t give into the temptation. The odds you’re sitting next to an expert in any given field are not in your favor.

  • The unofficial motto of metro riders is “may the odds be ever in your favor.” The official title of their plan to fix the public transit system in D.C. is “Back2Good,” which is equally uninspiring. You probably won’t die, but maybe check this website before heading out.

  • If you stand on the left side of the Metro escalator, it’s legal to shove you down the steps.

  • If you’re a political nerd, which, be real, you probably are, you might spot a politician out in the wild at some point and freak out. Make sure your Snapchat’s flash is turned off before trying to take a discrete pic. Just trust me on this one.

  • A unicorn dies every time an intern on The Hill refers to their boss as The Senator or The Congressman.

  • For the love of everything good in life, get out of Georgetown at night. Unless you have enough money to party there regularly, in which case consider Venmo-ing me (some of your dad’s money) cash for this extremely valuable advice.

  • If you’re a guy looking to hit the town, stand in front of the mirror and take off at least one salmon/Nantucket Red article of clothing before you leave. Only have one item of clothing that’s on the spectrum of bro-pink? The rule still applies, especially if you’re wearing boat shoes.

  • Once you’re actually out in the wild, i.e. off campus, you will learn that you will never make a positive life decision after a night out in Adams Morgan (AdMo). Just accept it, move on with your life and get the pepperoni pizza when you inevitably stumble into Jumbo Slice.

  • If you decided not to drink in AdMo, you’re going to be psychologically scarred by everything you remember seeing. Don’t try to eat your feelings at Jumbo Slice -- you’re going to feel worse than if you were hungover the next morning.

  • Also, you’ll never make good life choices at Tropicalia on U St.

  • Ditto any kind of bottomless brunch immediately after a breakup. Your mimosa-fueled tears will ruin your hollandaise sauce and you’re going to passive-aggressively Snapchat your ex about what a great time you’re having without them. Not that we’d know from personal experience…

  • D.C. Tinder sucks.

  • D.C. Bumble sucks.

  • D.C. dating sucks, but do it anyways. It’s college, after all.

  • Make lots of questionable choices, but don’t do something so stupid that it’ll show up on a background check when you graduate in four years. You have to pay off that soul-crushing debt at some point, right?
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