In Defense Of The Freshmen: Part One
September 4, 2008
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On a regular basis, I am not often heard saying “Oh, those poor lil’ freshmen” or showing any pity towards freshmen at all. They walk too slow, they eat all the food in the café, and they never understand the syllabus. That being said, hold on to your hats: I think the freshmen have definitely got the short end of the stick this year.
Sure, they don’t have cars so they don’t need to fight for the few parking spots that exist on this campus. True, they also have power in numbers so if there is ever a fight between the classes, they will probably win. And I will even venture to say that almost everything on campus was changed for them, so that must be a nice feeling. However, they may be in a worse situation overall than us lucky-yet-pretty-bitter upperclassmen.
The biggest problem for freshmen: housing. Not only are almost all rooms tripled (yes, even ones in New Hall), but freshmen have been thrown basically anywhere that was open. New Hall has been turned completely into freshmen housing. Yes, the three-year old upperclassmen building now houses freshmen and six sophomores. Freshmen have also been placed in Dunham and Winchester. Six freshmen have even been put in the Regency Apartments. There are several issues that exist here.
First of all, how are freshmen supposed to interact if they are all spread out? For the poor kids at Regency, they can’t even get onto campus to go to events most of the time. According to the shuttle schedule online, the last shuttle going to Regency leaves UNH at 11:30 p.m. 11:30? Are we in high school? Did dad set our curfew at midnight? I guess that rules out going to a study session that might run late. The shuttle also barely runs in the afternoon. I guess it’s just too bad if someone has an afternoon or evening class, because from the looks of the schedule, they have to arrive at campus around 3:30 and wait around. Lucky them.
As if that’s not bad enough, the shuttle doesn’t run on the weekends, despite what the schedule says. It was reported to me that someone was actually told “the shuttle doesn’t go to Regency during weekends because only upperclassmen live there so they can just drive to campus.” Only problem: freshmen without cars live there too. So if they are hungry or want to see friends or want to go to an event, they are out of luck. Thanks for the tuition money, kids. For one unfortunate freshman at Regency, he might not be able to make hockey practices because of the lack of shuttle. So while we encourage freshmen to get involved here, we are also making it impossible.
Even for freshmen on campus, interacting is tough. How are freshmen in Winchester supposed to get the freshmen experience that they should? My freshmen year, all of my friends lived in the same wing on the third floor of Botwinik as me. We all left our doors open and wandered from room to room. Apartment doors don’t often stay open. Upperclassmen aren’t often welcoming toward freshmen.
In addition, Winchester is a wet dorm. Freshmen dorms are dry for a reason. It becomes a very weird environment when some people can legally drink alcohol and not be shy about it, while it is illegal for others. When the 18 21-year-olds in Winchester walk in the building with alcohol in their hands, what kind of environment is that for freshmen that are being told they shouldn’t drink?
On top of that, my freshmen year, we weren’t even allowed to go inside Winchester or Sheffield. Now freshmen can live there?
The whole situation just makes me feel bad. Freshman year is all about getting comfortable, meeting people, and feeling at home. Living on campus in a reasonable living situation (no, a triple in Bixler doesn’t count as reasonable) is the basis of the freshman experience.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on the way you look at it, I have too much information for this editorial to exist as a single article. I’ll wrap this up next week.