20 Things Only American University Students Understand

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When you decide to go to American University, your parents’ lives immediately become easier because they can just buy 4th of July decorations for your graduation party. AU is known for being one of the most political campuses in the country, filled with lots of gay Jews from New Jersey and everyone has some form of the US flag hanging in their dorm room. Beyond the daily grind of classes and interning in the nation’s capital, AU students have pretty much developed their own strange little world.

1. “Hey, let’s go quadding today, it’s so nice out!” is a commonly heard phrase.

When it gets sunny, the quad becomes covered by blankets and soda cups.

2. Spotting Kerwin is as rare as a football game on campus.

AU will always be #StillUndefeated.

3. Trick or treating down embassy row is a Halloween tradition.

“It was cool seeing everyone dressed up. There were all these teenagers who were running up and down Embassy Row trying to get as much candy as they could,” freshman environmental science major Anna Johnson said.

4. #KancelitKerwin is the most popular hashtag.

Shira Stein

Shira Stein

If it’s going to snow even 0.1 of an inch, then the tweets start.

5. March Madness isn’t a sports competition, it’s the codeword for Student Government elections.

“Again and again, we see people spending tremendous amounts of time and energy running for positions…and it is madness,” freshman SIS major Sam Rogers said.

6. You probably yell at metro buses to hit you so that WMATA will be forced to pay your tuition.


7. Even though most people don’t care about sports, everyone still loves Clawed.

David Stout, courtesy of Sasha Gilthorpe

David Stout, courtesy of Sasha Gilthorpe

“He’s fluffy and cute. I don’t know why you wouldn’t love him. There’s a new baby eagle and I saw a tweet about how they should name one Clawed,” freshman American history and political science major Sarah Everett said.

8. Monumenting is done when you and your friends are bored or drunk.

Shira Stein

Shira Stein

“I didn’t understand why it was a verb at first. If I’m home and say that I went monumenting, then everyone doesn’t understand what I’m talking about,” freshman public relations major Anthony Fernandez said.

9. It’s not exciting to know someone who interns on the hill after your freshman year.

Shira Stein

Shira Stein

Approximately 7 out of every 10 AU student interns on the hill, people only get excited when someone interns in the White House.

10. You’re obsessed with the Obama family, Joe Biden and the members of the Supreme Court.

“You can’t be apathetic about the political process when you’re 20 minutes away from where history is being made. Besides thinking that every aircraft thing is Air Force One, being able to watch President Obama on TV and know he’s 20 minutes away has connected me to the historic role that his presidency has played,” freshman history major Stephanie Williams said.

11. You hate when people use the word wonk, except when it’s Anderson Cooper.

You could hear a wave of excitement across the campus the second Anderson Cooper mentioned the infamous AU marketing campaign word.

12. You’re obsessed with The West Wing, House of Cards or Madam Secretary (or all three).

“It’s funny because we all live here. We all know that it’s not like that because we live here, but we still watch those shows. Ask me any question about The West Wing and I’ll start to cry,” freshman history major Hannah Zak said.

13. A presidential debate is like a sporting event.

I’ve never met more random people than during the presidential debates, especially since all of my floor packs into our lounge to watch.

14. No one asks what happened during your break

Shira Stein

Shira Stein

Instead they ask where you’re interning this semester. “I think that AU has a play hard work hard mentality, and sometimes that gets in the way of having a social life. Yes, I enjoy what I do, but I feel like we need to get a little more personal sometimes,” sophomore film and media arts major Andy Lalwani said.

15. You decide to go to TDR based on the day of the week.

Taco Tuesdays and Mac and Cheese Wednesdays are bae.

16. Steak and Egg has the best drunchies.

“They don’t judge you when you buy six entrees at once. It’s a $2 Uber. Their French toast and hash browns are sooooo good,” SIS major Maddie Bergoon said.

17. When the pronunciation of tenders becomes a political debate.

Is it tendeeers or tendaaaaz?

18. The struggle of putting ketchup on plastic cup lids is so real.

Shira Stein

Shira Stein

Why is Tavern always out of the little cups?!

19. Meatless Mondays are #thewurst.

“It’s a good service for people with dietary restrictions, but as someone who is loosely a meatarian I dislike not being able to go to TDR or knowing that my options will be less than stellar,” freshman economics major Chris Abbott said.

20. Although it has its problems, you don’t regret going to AU.

Even though AU (especially the administration) frustrates you 99.5% of the time, you still love the school and the people who go here.

College Magazine does not promote underage drinking. Please drink responsibly.

Shira is a sophomore pursuing a dual degree in print journalism and biology at American University in Washington, D.C. She is a self-described overachiever who grew up near San Francisco and likes to makes sure that you know so. Beyond a passion for journalism and genetics, she enjoys singing, going monumenting, and obsessing over politicians and YouTubers.

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