Freshmen

Most seniors get apprehensive when they think about becoming a freshman again. In fact, the term seems derogatory in many a high school. However, my experience as a college freshman so far has been very different from what I thought it would be, and here’s why.

Contrary to what I’d thought, most upperclassmen are rather enthusiastic about meeting freshmen and helping them figure out the college scene. Almost every upperclassman I’ve sought advice from has been overwhelmingly generous in giving suggestions and recommendations, which definitely surprised me. They even fought Cornell via petition when they threatened to discontinue free bus passes for freshmen! In general, older students want to help out us newbies because they remember what it feels like to suddenly be in a totally new environment, and I’ve encountered nobody who sneered and said, “Figure it out for yourself.”

In addition, freshmen are encouraged to join (even sought after sometimes) campus groups/clubs. If anything, they want freshmen even more because A. They need to fill newly-vacant spots or B. They want members who will stick around for all four years and eventually take on e-board positions. Perhaps this shouldn’t have been a shocker, but I was pleased to find out that so many groups were interested in first-years.

Professors are happy to work with freshmen as well! They, too, know that the transition from high school to college is difficult for most people, and (in my experience) are more than willing to answer any questions you might have, whether it’s about class or college in general. There may be the occasional exception of course, but I’ve found that professors/instructors like the fresh energy (puns!) that freshmen can bring to the classroom, even when we might be a little off the mark. No, they won’t hold your hands, but they won’t throw you onto a funeral pyre alive either.

(Side note about being off the mark: My instructors have all been nothing but encouraging.)

(Side note about the funeral pyre bit: Some instructors will do that, especially if it’s a “weeder” class and they’re trying to whittle their class down to the most serious students.)

In general, I’ve found that while I’m physically on the bottom of the food chain, we’re not the “untouchables” at the bottom of the caste system. True, nobody wants to be that freshman: the one who wears their room key on a lanyard and consults Google Maps for directions all the time, but everyone’s been in that position. While I’ve done my fair share of clueless freshman moves, I’ve also built good relationships with upperclassmen. In general, nobody is going to think less of you for being brand new–and they might even help you out more than you think.

~Natalie

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