When we were in high school, we were bombarded with stereotypes and stigmas of a social order hierarchy. Jocks and cheerleaders were at the top rung of the ladder, the band kids stuck together and “Mean Girls” taught us that the cafeteria is the most accurate way to assess where you belong.
Then we graduated and were told that college is different. Everybody is accepting of everybody, regardless of background or classification. There’s no such thing as divisive lunch tables. It’s no longer weird to sit by yourself and have a meal. You belong wherever you want to belong. But is that really true?
As a senior, I’ve heard my friends and others continually mock freshmen. According to the consensus, freshmen make dumb social mistakes, they don’t know how life on campus works and they wear cargo shorts. Gasp. How dare they?
It’s common to see articles about how annoying and clueless freshmen are on websites like CollegeHumor and Total Frat Move. Despite being satirical websites, we often perpetuate the attitudes that we read about in these articles.
This negative attitude toward incoming freshmen is poisonous for Murray State. When recruiting new students, the University advertises itself as inclusive to everyone and a community of diverse cultures and people.
When we make fun of underclassmen, we are in contrast with the ideals of the Murray State community.
I didn’t become a senior without first going through an awkward freshman year. I didn’t know the Greek alphabet, I didn’t know how college parties were different than high school parties, I didn’t understand the concept of meeting with an academic adviser and yes, I wore a lanyard; sue me. Everyone goes through a transitional period when first attending college. Anyone who tells you that they didn’t have a “freshman” moment during their freshman year is most likely lying.
Being a college student isn’t just about making changes academically. You become immersed in a completely different social world. Most of us aren’t used to sharing a cubicle-sized dorm room with another person. We’re not used to complete freedom and what it means to make decisions without our parents.
Upperclassmen should feel more obligated to help freshmen transition from high school to college without berating them, because feeling alone in a new environment takes an emotional toll on people. Many students drop out after their first semester because of bad grades, but other students drop out simply because they didn’t enjoy their experience. Murray State is often described is a “home away from home,” and many of us love it here. We should give freshmen a reason to love it here, too. A helping hand from an upperclassman is something many of us could have used our own freshman
Everyone studying at Murray State is an adult. It’s mature to take the next step to better yourself by going to college. Because we are all adults, we should dismiss the stereotypical high school behavior of making fun of students newer than us.
Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor