About Marianna: Fueled with a love for politics and the way the media portrays it, Marianna Sotomayor is currently pursuing a political communications degree at the George Washington University. When she is not consumed by keeping up with the news or school work, Marianna enjoys being immersed in D.C. culture, trying new brunch locations, and shopping.
Marianna's essay detailing the sometimes overlooked, burgeoning culture of millennials in Washington D.C. earned her a spot on our politics writing team. Marianna, welcome to PolicyMic!
(From Marianna) In a city where black suits and briefcases are the unofficial dress code for Dupont and Capitol Hill areas hides an eclectic group lingering in their shadows. Life in D.C. is simply a routine for the former, a cycle that won’t spin without a morning coffee run (Starbucks please) and thrives on brainstorming the next political/business move. Noticing anything or anyone else outside of this realm is nearly impossible.
D.C. manages to attract people from all over the world to be part of this cubicle-lifestyle- in other words, a highly-focused routine with little escape. It can get pretty bland. Granted, this life has chosen them, as many argue, because it will lead to success. While it can, these people now view D.C. as a stone-cold relic that is a distant reminder of the historic, inspiring, and motivating place that made them want to be there in the first place.
Think about politicians who have lost touch with the public opinion. A majority of representatives no longer have the twinkle of positivity and change in their eye that they probably once had as a 20s something. It may seem like a lost cause for them, but there is help.
D.C. millennials are the hidden secret. I have been lucky enough to cover stories and witness young adults who study, intern, work, and find time to go out and explore the real D.C. In between schoolwork, they have the conviction to establish organizations that will shape demographics in this vibrant city, and somehow manage to end their long working days with happy hours at U Street or a monument walk. While my fellow classmates may feel trapped in the coined “GW bubble,” they find a way to burst through it to be immersed in culture.
Against popular belief there’s more to D.C. than just the National Mall. Millennials can find the hole-in-the-wall music halls, local painting rooms, and rooftop bruncheries. Yes, they may have more downtime, but they value the meaning of living by understanding, not just witnessing. They’re optimistic and have nothing to lose. They’re abusing all of D.C’s offerings, and with good reason.
With this charisma and curiosity, there is no doubt that if my generation were in power, they would find a way to circumvent the cubicle-lifestyle. Needless to say, they would get more things done. A majority of the generation has never experienced an issue with race, sexual preference, and lifestyle choices. They protest, they question, and assess the mistakes being made today. Millenials have the passion that is completely lacking in Washington and for the moment, we have each other’s backs.
Congress and businessmen and women used to be like this too. Yes, they are now extremely busy, but if they could shift their focus slightly to get to know the bright generation that walks among them daily, maybe it will inspire them to find a way to lower student loan rates, establish more civic engagement opportunities for young adults, and most importantly, remember what it is like to be young. Preconceived notions about the coined “ME ME ME Generation” will diminish, just as those who are living in their uniform bubble will realize that D.C. life is full of exciting and enjoyable pursuits. Ask millennials, they know where it all is and can look up the quickest way to get there.
For more news on Marianna, follow her on Twitter: @msotomayor12