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‘First-years’ term useless, unproductive

Fulton is a first-year news/internet major and can be reached at sarah.fulton@drake.edu

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.

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1 Comment

  1. Harry Potter September 14, 2012

    I would just like to point out that, yes, the use of the phrase “first year” seems a little over played here at Drake, but its really more hyped because people make a big deal out of it. If you really ever pay attention its really more just the administration and RHA that push the term, first year. Ask almost any regular student here they would still call you a freshman. The word offers positive connotation and in situations where the administration and RHA need to step in it is designed to make you feel like you are inferior to them, not in everyday situations around campus. It is also common for many colleges and universities of Drakes stature to try to create a unique atmosphere; consider it snooty in fact. Also a point you didn’t mention is the fact the word freshman has the word man in it. For Drake, its more about not offending some people and having a natural term. And if you would do your research Drake has had issues with having freshmen hazed to the point where the administration enforced it. Look into freshman beanies next time you are in the library in the yearbooks. At this point in time, you are seeing the end result of changing from freshman to first year. Anyways why wouldn’t you want to pretend Drake is Hogwarts.

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