OPINION: Maybe we should get off the freshman hate train | Opinion
There is nothing quite like the chaos and thrill of freshman year of college: roommates who love the hot weather when you like it cold, ruthless deadlines constantly riding us and the roller coaster ride to the city. ‘independence. Although the freshman experience resonates with many of us, year after year incoming class members face the same condemnation from higher levels, whether warranted or not. While the majority of jabs are fairly light, at times they can be needlessly hurtful and unfair.
Make no mistake – this is not meant to be a call for mercy on behalf of all the early years of upper class wrath. In high school, I also participated in my fair share of freshman slander. In fact, it was one of the things I looked forward to doing.
I believe that is part of the reason why this annual tradition has become so ingrained in our college culture. As a freshman we’re constantly ridiculed and blamed, so when it’s time to relinquish the title at the end of spring, we feel justified in giving the same treatment to next year’s new batch.
Of course, not all freshmen are angels. There are a lot of early years that display boring, immature behavior, sometimes in the hope of looking cool. Suddenly, the whole class is reduced to the negative image perpetuated by these individuals, pushing the less embarrassing to hide their status as first year.
Because the anti-freshman attitude has become so prevalent in our campus culture, even some freshmen make the self-hate statement. However, there is nothing inherently wrong with being a freshman. The title simply denotes the first phase of the college process, and someone is nonetheless worthy because of their freshman etiquette.
There is no denying that college is difficult no matter what level you are in. But it is particularly difficult for those who are new to the experience. For many of us, this is our first time navigating life without the emotional and financial support of our loved ones – our first time meeting the harsh demands of college classes – our first time ‘grown up’ and living off. autonomous way.
Since college life is so different from our life before, mistakes are inevitable. Sometimes these mistakes will seem boring to more experienced students. However, it’s important to note that at one point many of us were the irritating, overpowering freshmen we like to put down.
One method that can reduce negative attitudes towards early years is perspective taking. Perspective taking refers to the process of understanding the world through the prism of others. When we take another person’s point of view, we expand our version of reality, foster respect and empathy, and grow as individuals.
Seeing that a majority of students on campus have walked the route that freshmen are currently following, it should hopefully not be a challenge for these people to see the world through their eyes. This ability to take someone else’s point of view could be particularly useful in assessing whether mockery is necessary in a given situation. While it can be tempting to poke fun at the first year who asked a silly question, before you do, take a moment to imagine what it would be like to be in her shoes.
Look, I get it, making fun of freshmen can be fun. However, when the taunts turn into slurs or unfair generalizations, maybe it’s time to reassess why we’re doing it in the first place. Ultimately, we are all college students trying to survive and find our place in this jungle called NC State, and who knows, we can learn something by opening our hearts as well as our minds.