Fulton is a first-year news/internet major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a freshman. It does not matter how many times people call me a first-year, I will still be a freshman. The stigma I face is not due to the term freshman. It is because of the way my entire class acts. We do not know where anything is or how anything works. We call home twice a day because we miss our dogs. Every squirrel that crosses our paths is still an exciting event. Simply changing the term used to classify us is not going to help us find Olin or miss fluffy any less.
Being a freshman is just a natural period of life. Everyone has to crawl before they can walk. Everyone has to be a freshman before they can be a sophomore. Calling us first-years is not going to make us learn to walk any faster.
The term actually works inversely and places more of a stigma on us. It is true that the word freshman has a negative connotation. However, making everyone call us something else just makes us stick out more. Nobody is pushing for the seniors to be called fourth-years or the juniors to be called third-years. The fact that we are being babied just makes the stigma seem true. By giving us a new positive term, it makes it seem as if we are too weak to handle the old one.
I can see at other schools that the term may be necessary. At schools where freshmen are continually hazed and look down upon it could serve its purpose. Here at Drake though, it is unnecessary. I have never been treated like a “freshman.” No one has used the term freshman with any sort of negative intent. I cannot speak for my entire class, but I felt welcomed, not looked down upon.
The only good that I can see coming from the term first-years is that it makes everyone feel like we are at Hogwarts. Unless my name is Harry and I am looking for the Sorcerer’s Stone feel free to call me a freshman.