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Land of the Hoyas

Well, I have been living my life to the absolute fullest and therefore decided to leave Pittsburgh for the nation's capital.

The timing could not have been better considering the warm, late-summer weather and the vibrant student as well as city life that I was able to witness while in the capital on a three-day weekend.

I enjoyed my visit very much. It was my first time in Washington D.C. and I thought the city and the people were very sophisticated, refined, cosmopolitan, a tad bit uppity, but generally friendly and good-natured.

I stayed with a friend at Georgetown University. The apartment was very posh, especially for a college fraternity house. The bros at Georgetown are definitely living large although sustaining themselves with little food and tons of cheap beer, mostly Keystone Light, Coors Light, and Bud Light.

My first impression of Georgetown was, "wow, there are so many preppy W.A.S.P.s" and considering I had just been on Carnegie Mellon's campus hours earlier, the contrast between student life and demographics seemed even more stark. One of the hosts at the house warned us "to avoid the east" while visiting D.C. and unfortunately this racial and socioeconomic insult did not go unnoticed.

There is nothing inherently wrong with White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, but there is something odd about the plethora of Ralph Lauren khakis, nearly identical tank-top and floral skirt sartorial combination held together by a large belt, pearl earings, long-sleeve Brooks Brother's shirts rolled to the elbow with perfect precision, and of course, the designer sunglasses made me feel as though I were sort of out of my element and missed the dressing memorandum that every student had received upon entering Georgetown University.

Fashion choice notwithstanding, I had an excellent time socializing with students from the famous School of Foreign Service, particularly those who came from the Qatar campus in Education City (Doha). Most of these international students were personable. I could only hope to be deserving of a seat at the school of law at such a high-powered, prestigious institution.

Although, admittedly people at Georgetown are for the most part more likely to engage in political discussions, broach the topic of religious hyprocrisy, and just have a blast on any given weekend, which is quite different than the vibrant life, or lack thereof, at Carnegie Mellon. The mood was a beautiful departure from the Andrew Carnegie philosophy that so many students at my soon-to-be alma mater practice which is, "my heart is in the work" and consequently "my weekends are usually dull."

I went to two parties, I would have gone to three, however, the parties there are quickly busted by law enforcement. I went to a few cultural mainstays, such as Wisey's, Booeymonger, Martin's Tavern, The Tombs, Bangkok Bistro, and other staple eateries. I witnessed the 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue address harboring the first African-American family since the construction of the building by slave hands; this, the first time seeing the White House and relishing the first election I partook in, which ushered "change" into these United States proved to be awe-inspiring.

The Lincoln Memorial and all the landmarks in the national mall at night sort of come to life and were spectacular sights to see. I envisioned Martin Luther King Jr. giving his momentous, "I Have a Dream" speech next to the architectural wonder that is the Washington Monument. I marveled for what seemed like an eternity at the gargantuan statue depicting a seated, yet contemplative Abraham Lincoln (the man who presided over a divided country and simultaneously emancipated slaves) as well as the powerful, engraved words from Honest Abe's second inaugural address.

This Labor day weekend was truly life-changing and although I put a dent in my pocket book from all the traveling and dining, I do not regret the costs for a single moment, the trip to Washington D.C. was worth every red penny (Abe) and Benjamin Franklin. The hospitality around town, the stimulating political discourse, and the amenities were better than I hoped it could ever be.

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