The start of the semester was the first time I had been back at GW in over eight months. And while I didn’t forget the layout of campus, there was one thing I found when I returned that I didn’t expect to see.
I realized I had completely forgotten about freshmen. And it did not take long for them to make their presence known.
I stood mystified one night, watching as a crowd of bodies stumbled over one another, ravenous for alcohol, a party or for their first taste of college life. I felt like I was in a zombie movie.
It’s become somewhat of a tradition for upperclassmen to mock and judge freshmen the first night back on campus. I was standing with a group outside of a friend’s townhouse, when a freshman approached us and boldly asked, “So like, what’s the deal here?”
I couldn’t help but recall my first night on campus. That Thursday night three years ago, I ended up at some sketchy fraternity party and like this girl, did not know what the deal was. In that moment, I realized there’s more to being a freshman than I once thought.
Freshmen possess something upperclassmen never will: an untainted perspective.
They are not yet burdened with job applications or choosing majors. They roam the campus that is not quite theirs, hopeful and blissfully blind to the mistakes that lay ahead.
There comes a point between your junior and senior years when you become too old to ask your Introduction to American Art professor 18 questions about footnotes. By now, our stupid question limit has surely run out. As upperclassmen, we may pretend to know everything. But freshmen are a reminder that we still have a lot to learn.
Being a freshman is something everyone can relate to. Watching this year’s freshmen make the same mistakes we did forces us all to reflect on our own personal growth.
We may forget about them or judge them, but freshmen are a source of nostalgia, making us feel old while reminding us just how far we’ve come since free tequila shots in the basement of a certain Mexican restaurant.
I don’t miss my daily commute on the Vern Express or struggling through economics for a second. But I am still not willing to own up to my seniority either. Both years serve as bookends for my college education.
The writer, a senior majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet columnist.
This article appeared in the September 13, 2012 issue of the Hatchet.