I know what you’re thinking. We should just start a “freshman” section in the CT for all the articles that have been written about them. We’re obsessed. Upperclassmen feel like they have a thing or two they could teach freshmen about college life. While that very well may be true, perhaps we upperclassmen should listen to the freshmen for a change. As I found out, they may in fact have something to teach us. To begin with, the class of 2008 includes some really remarkable people – from an inventor with U.S. patents to a French children’s book author. There are freshman EMTs, black belts, published poets, Eagle Scouts, Carnegie Hall musicians and two Crohn’s Disease survivors. They are not a class to be messed with. As I walked around Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls and Gilbert Hall in an effort to get a better grip on the freshman class, I found nothing but open doors. Music was blaring, people were convening in the halls, shouting down to their neighbors.When I tentatively entered rooms asking to talk to some of the freshmen, I got nothing but smiles. The walls vibrated with an eagerness and an enthusiasm. By the time that I left, I was swinging my theoretical lanyard with a lot more vigor.Compare that with the hallways of Burton Hall or Wilder Tower and you get a distinctly different feel. Closed doors, quiet rooms, no one really looking to make new friends or just chat with their neighbors. It’s a sad and lonely sight.So why does the Class of 2008 seem to be so happy? There appear to be quite a few reasons. “The people at UR are so chill. In my hall, in my classes – the people here are absolutely phenomenal. That’s the best thing about this school,” freshman Madeleine St. Marie said. And she’s not alone. “I love that all the stupid people are gone. Everyone at UR is on the same intellectual level,” freshman Yael Tarlovsky said. “I feel like everyone here is one big group. We’re all the same age, all on the same page. There is a different level of maturity here,” freshman Kristin Volpicella said.There is another overriding fact that is really making this freshman class happy – they want to be here. An increase in early-decision applicants and students petitioning for admission from the waiting list proves that UR was the first choice for many members of the Class of 2008, according to John Burdick, Dean of College Admission and Financial Aid. “I expect there are fewer conversations in the freshman dorm this year that start ‘Well, I didn’t get into x – an Ivy League school – so Rochester was the next-best choice.’ It’s nice to think there are fewer such conversations in the Class of 2008, and on average more students in this class are excited from the beginning about everything they can accomplish here,” Burdick said. The freshmen this year also really seem to appreciate the whole “college” thing. “I love the community feeling in the dorms. It’s very cool. I like that I don’t have to drive 10 minutes to get to a friend’s house,” freshman Ross Hopkins said. “I love just hanging out and chatting with someone in my room until 4 a.m. That’s college,” Tarlovsky said.So maybe the upperclassmen should stop for a second and pay attention to this freshman attitude. We are young. We are in college. We are all living together, learning together, playing together. Let’s appreciate it. Because as the freshmen could probably teach us, life isn’t so bad after all. Mittleman can be reached at dmittleman@campustimes.org.

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