Slice of Life: Becoming a Local

“Where is the metro?” the confused, fanny pack-clad tourist asked me this spring. Metro, metro, where is the metro? Ugh. I know this one! Across from JBKO, near that awful construction ruckus, literally right next to where my roommate was EMeRG-ed last year. Yes! The metro. “23rd and I, a few blocks up and to your left,” I responded.

There is nothing quite like the first time a tourist asks you for directions. Maybe it’s the backpack, or your general all-knowing demeanor, but there is no mistaking the fact that this tourist pegged you as a local. Either confused and foreign or dragging five zillion kids at their heels, they ask and you know the answer. Calm, cool and collected – you’ve made it, kid. Here’s to you, D.C.’s number one tour guide. You’re an official Washingtonian.

As students in D.C., we have a unique perspective of the District’s happenings. Unlike the young professionals jammed into Capitol Hill cubicles, GW’s classes often force us to rip ourselves away from Jersey Shore reruns and actually tour the nation’s capital. It seems crazy to me now, but I arrived in D.C. as a scared, confused kid at CI – literally dazed and confused by the GW fanfare, the Red Bull-addicted CI guides and Big (with a capital “B”) City living.

Two years later: the transformation is complete. Not only do I know my way to the metro but I can also confidently sweep through the turnstiles with my SmarTrip and leave those confused, paper-wasting tourist nomads with their panda-decorated fare tickets far behind. By the end of freshman year, we GDubbers can hop on the metro and know where we are going without even looking at the simpleton color-coded map. Key stops like Metro Center, Chinatown and Adams Morgan become as familiar to us as GWeb and Banner. This is all done while rushing to our destinations.

As Washingtonians and card-carrying members of the over-indulged, patience-deprived, sex-addled generation lovingly known as Gen Y, we not only know how to physically get around D.C., but we can also cyber-navigate D.C. At the click of a button, we can peruse 9:30 Club concert listings, or prowl the gloriously long list of D.C. events on the DCist. We can even get our daily dose of D.C. snubs and all things satirical on Wonkette. We also know that for a sweet little pick-me-up all we have to do is check out Georgetown Cupcake on Twitter for the free cupcake of the day – red velvet? Don’t mind if I do.

When it comes to having a social life, no other Yuppie-lovin’ city can compare. Sure, you can head to the ESPN Zone to catch the big game, but we GDubbers know that Bottom Line is where all the locals – and the best beers – congregate. We may even detour to Kramerbooks in Dupont after a hard night out. After all, we simply refuse to believe that the calories from the delectable goober pie count on the weekends. We also know which clubs you can’t get into with your outdated, friend of a brother’s friend’s cousin’s fake ID no matter how hard you try, and the ones you can bring your 12-year-old little brother to on Colonials Weekend. If you ask us what we do on a ‘regular’ night out, we simply cannot answer. There are no such things as run-of-the-mill fraternity parties or quiet basement bars. College students run this city and, accordingly, there is jumping, grinding and imbibing from U Street to E Street every night.

These are D.C. nuggets – the local gems that are absolutely essential to the D.C. student’s toolbox. At some point, you become intensely possessive of the place where you had so many landmarks, like your first awkward blind date and not-so-glamorous internship. This is our city. Just the other day a couple from Boston asked me what there is to do in D.C. I surprised myself by prattling on about at least 30 places I know and love. Truthfully, one of the best things about GW is that when students come here, they are no longer from Los Angeles, New Jersey and Chicago. They quickly become part of the D.C. elite – those of us that can call ourselves true Washingtonians.

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