The only people in Washington worse than the millennials who move here in their twenties for jobs are the ones who move here in their teens to go to college. Of course some student bodies are better than others:
1. Gallaudet kids
No cheap deaf jokes here. Gallaudet kids are an inspiration.
2. Howard kids
At most universities, drunk, immature students make fools of themselves and bother the surrounding residents. But at Howard, the dynamic is flipped, with drunk, immature twentysomethings on U Street and eager LeBloomingdroit gentrifiers often getting in the way of the students. Not that Howard kids don’t get drunk and stupid themselves, they’re just more interesting to talk to when they do. I rarely mind running into and striking up late night conversations with Howard students because, in my experience, way more of them have compelling backgrounds and life stories than the assembly line suburban honor students who end up at GW, American, and Georgetown.
3. UDC kids
Tucked away in Van Ness, UDC kids are totally unobtrusive.
4. Georgetown kids
Given their reputation for being arrogant pricks, you might expect Georgetown kids to be rated more harshly than Americans, Catholics, and Colonials. And they probably would be, if we ever had to deal with them. The saving grace of the Georgetown student body is that it’s quarantined. Georgetown might as well be a separate city (or duchy). With no Metro stop, and a student population totally averse to taking the bus, Georgetown just doesn’t mix much with the rest of Washington, save the occasional Hoyas game at the Verizon Center. Most of these coxswains and bowsmen have never even heard of Shaw or H Street, much less set topsider there. So unless I’m at Sign of the Whale (where I will never go) or forced to shop on M Street with a visiting relative, I generally don’t have to see these scumbags and scumbaguettes.
5. Catholic kids
The Catholic University of America is a great melting pot of overproud East Coast blowhards. Unable to fulfill their parents’ Boston College and Fordham dreams, they come to Washington by way of Boston, Providence, New York, Jersey, Philly, and Maryland to spend four years getting drunk and proclaiming that Boston, Providence, New York, Jersey, Philly, or Maryland is the greatest fucking place on earth. Not content to fill just Brookland with their braggadocio, they descend on Adams Morgan, Irish Times, and College Park to get rowdy and start fights, or else just punch walls and pass out. Those who aren’t alcoholics tend to be holier-than-thou religionists who are just as obnoxious. Really the only bearable CUA students are the large number of gay kids who go there for their acclaimed theater program.
6. American kids
American students are some of the biggest suckers in higher education. Desperate to go to college in the capital, but unable to get into one of the Georges, they plop down $200,000+ for a four year sojourn in a cloistered suburban neighborhood with none of the cultural amenities typically associated with college life. Surrounded by luxury homes and bamboo, they have to take a shuttle bus to get to the nearest Metro stop/grocery store/restaurant. Oh, but the shuttle is free and runs all the time and there’s a Chef Geoff’s just a few blocks off campus, they’ll tell you without the slightest hint of irony. And I know a guy in the Berks who sells weed, they’ll add, desperate to burnish their college credentials.
I would pity these poor bastards if they weren’t so myopically ambitious, so dead set on establishing a foothold within the Washington power structure one (or four) internships at a time. But American students truly believe in the power of politics and governance to change the world—and to get them a nice office job. For all their eager talk about making a difference, American students mostly just fill the ranks of Washington’s entrenched institutions and perpetuate business as usual. They are the human fodder that keeps the system running. You almost can’t blame em—they have to pay off that debt somehow.
7. George Washington kids
GW kids are the worst. Trust me, I was one of them. Rightly rejected by Georgetown and the Ivy League, they’re all too eager to aggrandize their just-okay university, seeing it as a symbol of their own self-worth. They live in one of Washington’s least desirable neighborhoods, but act like it’s a destination. Sure, Cornell said no, but Cornell isn’t blocks from the White House, is it? Cornell students can’t walk to the State Department, can they? Can they?!
Worst of all is the ingrained culture of money worship. GW kids treat their school like a country club, perversely wearing their exorbitant tuition as a badge of honor and exclusivity. A piece in the Post from 2013 examines the school’s [very accurate] rich kid image, and includes quotes from students like:
“The number one thing that makes you popular at GW is money. How else are you going to be able to go out and have fun? You have to be rich.”
Rich or not, most GW students are obsessed with status and addicted to conspicuous consumption. They love to flaunt. Go to any bar where Colonials congregate and watch gauche twenty one year olds dropping hundreds like they’re on fire. Spoiled, entitled, self-obsessed, and ultimately not that talented, George Washington students unwittingly embody everything everyone hates about millennials. And yes, I’m still bitter about owing them so much money.