October 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm

The Freshman Experience

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GSA’s freshmen are much like these capybaras; cute, slightly confused, and often seen traveling in packs.

Article by Mina Mattes and Abigail Jakub

Navigating the GSA hallways may be old hat to some, but to freshman, it’s a whole new world of confusing. “I got lost a few times the first week,” said new student Brianna Saad, “It’s quite a change, since I used to go to a smaller school. But I’m finding my way around pretty well now.” Says Alyssa Chesney, “Even three weeks in I’m still pretty confused about the layout… but if I just keep walking it’s like the building morphs and takes me where I need to go.”

Navigating the GSA campus isn’t the only problem. “It’s like everyone’s shouting ‘fresh meat’!” said one ninth grader, who asked to remain anonymous. “I definitely think there’s some discrimination against freshman. We get pushed more than anyone else- I guess the upperclassmen think they can treat us however they want.” Alyssa Chesney echoed this sentiment. “I heard someone shouting in the gym, ‘He’s just a freshman, you can kick him in the shins!’” Just sitting at lunch can earn the remark “Ugh, that table is infested with freshmen.” Walking to class might be met with a rude “MOVE IT, FRESHMEN,” even if the aforementioned freshmen are accompanied by sophomores and juniors.  Even well-meaning upperclassmen will point and say “They’re so cute, and so lost!” Pitchakorn Chawaranggoon summed up what she’s heard directed at her class: “They just say, ‘ugh, they’re freshmen.’ ”

Other ninth graders weren’t as harsh. “Some upperclassmen do denigrate freshman, but maybe not directly- I’m not sure it’s malicious. They just forget what it was like to be a freshman themselves,” said Hanna Gutow.  “It’s only a select few who really seem to pick on freshmen… That’s how they were treated as freshman, so that’s how they treat us.” She added: “I’ll definitely be nice to the freshmen next year, I wouldn’t want them to think [upperclassmen] are all evil!”

Of course, many returning students have been more than wonderful to the freshman class. For every story about a negative experience, there was a positive one. Certain sophomores, juniors and seniors have been seen directing freshman to their classes, explaining schedules and providing much-needed moral support.

Some freshman encounters with older students have been just plain weird. Students in Mr. Kazmierczak’s period two class report being ushered into the classroom by two students crying “Get in there, ya little puppies!”

On behalf of all freshmen: thanks to everyone who has gone out of their way to help us newcomers. To those that are on the offense: make way for the GSA class of 2016!
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