12 Things To Learn On Your First Day In D.C.

By Jade Sells, Joey Gale, Kate Brightwell, Levi Larson, and Queion Swift

After traveling a cumulative 4022 miles from around the country, our assigned group of five arrived in D.C. for a two week long academic seminar at The Washington Center. We are here to explore different aspects of politics and how they interact. Today, however, we did a more literal form of exploring as we ventured out into the city for our first glimpse at our Nation’s Capital. Follow #DrakeinDC to see even more of our adventurers.

1. What’s that next to the White House?Eisenhower_Executive_Office_Building_DC

The White House is a staple landmark in DC, and easily one of the most identifiable buildings in the country, if not more. But you may not know what lies directly to the right of the West Wing. The Eisenhower Executive Office Building is a U.S. Government Building occupied by the Executive Office of the Presidents. It was for years considered to be the worlds largest office building.

2. Everyone has a friend in DCJoey_Gale_DC

After posting a selfie in front of the White House, I started receiving several facebook messages, texts, calls and comments from old friends, fraternity brothers and Drake alumni. I wasn’t expecting at all to have so many people reach out to me. It just goes to show that you always have a friend in DC, just take a selfie in front of the White House and you’re good to go.

3. The Metro Waits for No One
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Yup… We learned this hard the hard way today. One of our Metro Smartcards didn’t scan right, and it ended up delaying us as the train arrived, loaded and pulled out of the station as we all stood and watched. Tragic, we know. We had to wait 15 minutes for the next train. Scream all you want, the Metro has no feelings, it leaves when it wants.

4. Sonny Bono has PARK!
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The 1960’s would’ve missed out on furry vests, “I Got You Babe” and Cher’s signature long black hair if not for the work of Sonny Bono. This singer/songwriter had a second career as a statesman, representing the great state of California. After his death in 1998, Geary Simon, a family friend donated $25,000 to create this unique park at the intersection of New Hampshire, 20th St and O St.

5. There is a Starbucks on Every Corner 
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But actually…

6. “Do You Follow All the Rules?”IMG_4470

Do you hang in the middle of the escalator? Do you eat on the metro? Do you ignore crosswalk directions? Engaging in any of these behaviors is breaking common courtesy and for the latter two the law. When in the city, if you’re not walking up the escalator stick to the right and let others pass. This is something we figured out the hard way. As for the metro eating and drinking is prohibited by law. Finally, ignoring the crosswalk will get you yelled at by a mysterious sound system, in case you were wondering.

7. Professional Protesting
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Doctors, lawyers, teachers, construction workers. These careers are recognized widely in our society and we do not blink twice when we seen them in practice. Today, I saw a woman who had chosen an interesting form of “employment.” She is, what some have dubbed, a professional protester. Her name is Connie Picciotto and she has been protesting in front of the White House for 32 years. Picciotto has protested wars and violence for over three decades and continues to arrive every day to continue her fight. It is evident that, while this may seem to be an unusual profession, Picciotto takes her career very seriously.

8. D.C. puts the ‘D’ in Diversity
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Here, in our nation’s capital, we saw a snapshot of the diversity our nation represents. Everyone we walked up to talked to us with an accent. Some spoke with broken english, but all were excited to tell us about D.C..

9. The Presidents Pew
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Church may be separate from state in the United States, but St. Johns church has reserved a pew for the president since 1816. Every President since James Madison has been an occasional attendee to the church services. While we weren’t able to test out the actual President’s pew, we did snap a photo at the entrance of St. Johns.

10. All roads lead to the Capital
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North, South, East, West, left or right it seems like you always end up back at the capitol. The capital is the center of the city and it is much easier to orient yourself on a map when you know where the capital is in relevance to your whereabouts. Once you know where you are, you can figure out where you’re going.

11. You Will Be Asked For Change


Wherever you go in D.C. there will be someone there to shake you down for change. It’s really sad to see. It may be a person at the subway begging for a meal or person at the grocery store who follows you around saying “‘Blondie’ I just need some change.” If you don’t want to end up penniless in the city, keep on walking.

12. The “Escalator to Heaven” 
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One of the many places we visited on our first day in D.C was DuPont Circle, a Red Line metro stop There, we were faced with an extremely elevated escalator. The ride to ground level is filled with apprehension, ascending slowly up and into the light. I remember commenting “the ride is long enough to stand and contemplate life”…yet and still, not a bad place for a selfie.

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One thought on “12 Things To Learn On Your First Day In D.C.

  1. Pingback: It may be hard to beleive, but bipartisanship actually happens sometimes | Drake in D.C.

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