After spending the past two summers working with incoming high school freshmen, I upgraded to incoming college freshmen for my final summer of college.
Although barely halfway through the first session, the freshmen I am in charge of have already taught me many things (most notably that my high school career was outrageously tame). Above all else, though, they have made me realize why upperclassmen typically avoid freshmen.
For incoming freshmen, I have some advice on how to avoid coming across as freshmen to all of us wiser and more knowledgeable upperclassmen:
•Keep your PDA to a minimum. A kiss or holding hands is fine, but when you’re making out is becoming the main attraction at Rooster’s, you might have a problem.
•Don’t try too hard to fit in. When you’re changing yourself to make those around you like you, it’s very obvious and noticeable.
•High school is the past — keep it that way. No one cares how cool you were in high school or about the mistakes you made.
•Being away from your parents for the first time is a great feeling, but don’t go crazy. Know your limits; if you’re always the first one passed out at a party, you aren’t going to be invited back.
At the same time, though, all of these things are only learned through experience. All of us, no matter our age or how little we care to admit it, are guilty of committing these at one point or another.
We talk about freshmen like they are some sort of disease, always forgetting that we were freshmen once too. As much as we may try to ignore it, we are not so different from them.
Remember the next time you’re telling someone, “She’s acting like such a freshmen,” that you were doing the exact same things once. For many students, this is the first time they are on their own and independent.
Instead of making fun of them, help them out. We’ve all been lost on the first day of classes, including the always embarrassing moment of realizing that you’re sitting in the wrong class.
Freshmen year is scary. New friends, new classes, being independent—it’s all a bit overwhelming. It will mean more than you know to someone if you just try to be a friend.
Having someone to show them around a new town or to meet people can mean a lot to someone who may be struggling being away from home for the first time. Just being a friend can mean more than you will ever know to that person.
A friend asked me recently if I have been hanging out with anyone other than freshmen this summer. With a few exceptions, the answer is pretty much “no.” But if hanging out with only freshmen will continue to have the influence in their lives that I have already seen, then it is something I’m proud of.