Republican Representative-elect Bobby Schilling (IL-17) doesn't have any legislative experience - but he can make a mean pizza crust. The father of 10 and owner of Saint Giuseppe's Heavenly Pizza in Moline, Illinois is among more than 100 freshmen members in the 112th Congress.
At least a third of the newcomers to the House and four incoming senators have little to no experience serving in elected office.
Joining Schilling are two pilots, a talk radio co-host, a pottery-maker, an auctioneer, a former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman, a youth camp minister, several doctors and a smattering of small businessmen.
"We'll see if I can keep flying. That's my goal, to be able to stay in the cockpit," said Adam Kinzinger, an Air National Guard pilot and newly-elected Republican representative for Illinois' 11th district. Kinzinger, whose only previous political experience is serving on the county board in college, has been bouncing in and out of Washington to serve on the GOP leadership transition team and attend freshman orientation - while also continuing his duties as a guardsman.
Of his new responsibilities on the Hill, Kinzinger says, "It hasn't quite sunk in yet fully. I think this week it probably will."
Ohio conservative Representative-elect Bill Johnson, a small businessman and military veteran, says that from selecting a steering committee to learning House rules to setting up offices, the learning curve for freshmen like him will be steep. "I haven't been a freshman in a very long time at anything, but being a freshman congressman, we've got a lot to learn here in a very short time."
"If they have us scraping cheese balls off the ceiling or something like that, I don't know what we'll do," he joked when asked if being a freshman representative is anything like being hazed as a college newbie.
"At the beginning, they'll be kind of figuring out how things run," says Columbia University political science professor David Epstein. "That means more power will be given to Republican leaders in the House, because they're still learning to vote."
But experts say even if that is the case when the 112th Congress officially meets for the first time in January, it won't last long.
A significant number of the newbies ran on platforms rejecting Washington "insider" politics and speaking out against entrenched, more experienced lawmakers. Missouri auctioneer Billy Long (MO-7), who ran with the simple two-word slogan "Fed Up," painted his lack of experience as an asset, telling the Associated Press, "We have enough political experience in Washington, D.C. to choke a horse."
Former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman John Runyan beat out a 17-year state senate veteran Democrat John Adler in New Jersey's third congressional district, on a platform decrying insider politics - and with the support of local Tea Party groups.
"Given the fact that many of the newcomers are subscribers to the Tea Party kind of ideology...one might anticipate that there's going to be more socialization over time for this crowd, just because they're going to be more hostile to Congress as a whole," predicts Chris Arterton, professor of political management at George Washington University. "And therefore, I think less likely to see the usual kinds of incentives that draw people into the legislative process and the Beltway community, less likely to see that as something that they would enjoy or want to participate in."
"There is already developing a clash between the fresh faces coming in elected on the idea of changing Congress, and the establishment, who wants to see things going on the way they have," says Epstein. "The earmark fight is just an indicator of things to come."
For now, members are spending time orienting themselves. "I'm just trying to find my way around and make sure I do the right thing for the people I was sent here by," Johnson says, adding that newly elected members need to help the public understand that they can't "turn around the Titanic in a swimming pool... We've got a system we have to work through. There are no easy fixes. But we've got a set of principles."
Chad Pergram, Fox News' Senior Producer for the U.S. House of Representatives, contributed to this report.