10 Ways to Survive in D.C., Without Losing Your Soul
4. Go outside the concrete jungle.
D.C. can be a wild, crazy place. (It’s a swamp, after all.) However, if you’re looking for more thrills than barhopping or attending a Congressional hearing, go to the outdoors. Scout out nearby lakes, rivers, beaches, and trails. Go fishing, shoot some guns at the range, hike in the Shenandoah Valley, explore wine country, and check out the Chesapeake Bay. Looking to be more adventurous? Road-trip to one of the six states neighboring the DMV. Get some fresh air and deplug for a day or two.
5. Network with the right people.
Bad company truly corrupts a person’s character. When you’re networking with people in this town in search of a job or to make new friends, avoid people who don’t share the same morals, values, and principles as you do. Doing the opposite will only result in major regrets. As you build your network here, connect with trustful people who will honestly vouch for you and help you advance yourself professionally.
6. When you say reform, mean it.
There are many young people who dream of clearing away the corruption in D.C., but end up actively supporting candidates and politicians who only perpetuate the status quo. That is why it is important to practice what you preach, especially when it comes to your political principles. Avoid getting swept into the current of D.C. corruption by actually supporting politicians who are introducing legislation that limits the size and scope of government, along with candidates who seek to do the same thing once elected.
7. Be an individual, not a conformist.
There’s nothing worse than meeting a goose-stomping groupie or follower here in D.C. Let us be frank: if you can’t stand out from the crowd, you won’t survive here. Nobody wants to listen to how much you worship a political party. Why not be an individual? Proudly tout your home state, mention a cool skill you have/hobby you enjoy, or talk about your heritage. Be creative! Our generation has short attention spans and is easily bored. Conformity can breed collectivism, and look what happened as a consequence of that…Be unique and different!
8. Know your alcohol limit in public.
We all have seen people our age have a little too much to drink at a happy hour or a fancy conservative event. Avoid being that person. Intoxication does not rub off well on your current or future employers, whether or not they find out about it in public or online. Drinking should be classy and elegant, not trashy.
9. Use social media wisely.
Too many young people fall into the trap of sharing information they should not share online, whether it be about their work or personal lives. Remember: any future employer can find out any information he or she wants to about you with a click of a button and a quick Google search. Think before you tweet, share that status update, or post that photo on Instagram.
10. Come here to change things, not for fame.
Young, ambitious people are making their way to D.C., and that’s a good thing. Forbes recently ranked D.C. the third best city for millennials to reside in. Unfortunately, our fellow millennials fault whenever the prospect of fame gets the better of them. D.C. may be known as the Hollywood for Ugly People, but it doesn’t fall short of opportunists and egoists. If you come here, don’t expect to become instantly famous–unless you’re seeking notoriety or plan to tweet your junk to strangers. Come here to change policy and tackle disastrous big government policies. Too many young people move here and expect to be the next president, U.S. Senator, TV news anchor, or socialite. Sorry, but that’s an unrealistic expectation. (To be fair, several people you meet will achieve this kind of success.) Be ambitious–not arrogant. Don’t become part of the problem here in Washington, D.C.
We hope you enjoyed this listicle! We hope it inspires you to reform D.C.
Anna Maria Hoffman