I was in the line at Danforth, our wonderful local dining facility here at Rochester, when I heard a rather interesting conversation. Two girls were standing behind me talking and one of them said, “Oh my god, this girl totally cut me in line the other day. Obviously a freshman, I mean she had no idea what to do.” Her counterpart then replied, in an equally Regina George-y voice, “Seriously? Like how hard is it to figure out a lunch line?”
You see, in eavesdropping (with completely innocent intentions, I assure you), I was thinking to myself that sometimes it is hard to figure out which direction the line is going. My friend in line proceeded to discuss some poor freshman guy in one of her classes who didn’t talk to anyone I then had the burning impulse to turn around and shout, “Do you have any idea how mean you sound!?”
Another example of such a circumstance occurred in the mail room the other day. As we all know, the package pick-up line is ridiculously long. I had been waiting for about five minutes when a girl a few people up overheard some upperclassmen discussing the e-mail notification system. Evidently, she had been previously unaware of said system and had only come with the false hope that her package would be ready. After an exasperated exclamation, she made her departure. One of the older students then commented, with a joking, derisive tone, “Obviously a freshman.”
My desire to write about this, and the chip on my shoulder, I might add, is largely in part due to the fact that I, myself, am a freshman. And I guess I was remembering 6th grade, when all the 7th and 8th graders tormented me for still carrying a lunchbox, or called me “cute,” and the likes. Or I could draw on my experience as a freshman in high school, still as “cute” and unaware ofsocial norms as I had begun three years prior. So standing there in Danforth, waiting for my chicken stir fry, or leaning against the wall in line at Todd Union, all I could wonder was how the heck we can all be in college now, at this great university we all had to work hard to get into, and we still hear these notions of superiority from individuals who are literally only months older than their counterparts.
Who cares if all of the freshman have the same drawstring bags, or the same shirts, or the same water bottles from orientation? Instead of wanting to blend, to fit in, to stay out of the way, we should be saying, “Damn straight, we’re freshman.” Because that means we have that much more time here, that much more fresh hope, confusion, excitement, and opportunity that goes along with being a beginner.
Indeed, the general student population at UR has been nothing but kind and accepting, and I am completely content here. I would just like to get the word to those Reginas out there that maybe the freshman in your class doesn’t talk to anyone because he knows that in your eyes, he’s just some “freshman.” Or maybe it would be a better idea to just smile at the girl who accidentally cut you in line, and tell her where it starts. We all have our beginnings somewhere. We end up in new places, have to meet new people, and we do new things. So it’s best to just make those beginnings easier for one another.
McAdams is a member of
the class of 2017.