Everyone Hates Freshmen
December 20th, 2006
On the second Friday of the school year, I came prepared for the beating of my life. I expected a senior to come up to me and stick me in a locker or perhaps roll me down the eighth floor hallway in a trashcan with my underwear over my head. But nothing happened. The most I got on Freshman Friday was someone exclaiming, “Ha ha, you’re a freshman.”
But what is a freshman?
The freshman is short. The freshman is annoying. The freshman carries around a large backpack as if everything in his life were contained in that bag. The freshman has no sense of orientation and gets lost trying to find a simple room.
Like most stereotypes, these don’t apply to all freshmen, especially in the middle of December, but they have stuck nonetheless. The freshman stereotypes are a part of the vast array of school clichés, along with the dumb jock and the scrawny nerd. Even freshmen themselves will associate the word with a short, disoriented kid carrying a giant backpack.
They are also aware that they are at the very bottom of the strict academic hierarchy that upperclassmen create. They are treated like the untouchables of Hindu society, forced to retire to the halls of the upper floors after school, only to be seen by their superior others during the school day. After school, there is a conventional floor plan that dictates where the students of each grade will socialize. The upperclassmen and sophomores receive the bustling hallways of the second to sixth floor. The freshmen receive what’s left: the deserted and inconveniently located eighth and ninth floors.
While seniors, juniors and maybe even sophomores are talking about colleges, applications, AP courses and other college-related topics, freshmen are talking about the “fascinating” things they just found out at Stuy; things that upperclassmen would see as childish and immature. “Is today an A-Day or a B-Day? What does that mean?” “Where’s the gym?” “Where’s room so-and-so?” “What’s a free period?” “Wow! We can use lockers!” Such questions and realizations are trivial for experts like seniors and juniors, but for novices like freshmen, they’re as hard to grasp as geometric proofs.
But these questions only last in freshmen minds for so long. As the end of the semester grows near, the social gap between freshmen and everyone else grows smaller. They know where to eat out, hang out and which classes to take. They can even be seen doing the unthinkable: mingling and socializing with the upperclassmen.
So appreciate them while you can! During the second semester, stereotypical freshmen become somewhat of an endangered species. They are now busy preparing for the arrival of next year’s backpacked untouchables.