A Case of Freshmen-itis

Students+crowd+around+the+front+doors+during+lunch+the+first+week.+Many+businesses+had+long+lines%2C+forcing+students+to+rush+to+get+back+to+make+sure+they+were+not+late+to+their+fifth+hour+class.

Jenny George

Students crowd around the front doors during lunch the first week. Many businesses had long lines, forcing students to rush to get back to make sure they were not late to their fifth hour class.

Birdie McGee, Opinions Editor

On the first day of school for all Doherty students, I got mistaken for a freshman, by another freshman, despite the fact that I was not at school during the freshman orientation.

Now, I don’t blame her at all. In fact, I’ve been walking around the school feeling a little bit like a freshman myself. After all, on my first day of school as a freshman, half of the school was completely remote. Even though by the end of the year they had let everyone come into the building who wanted to, it still didn’t really feel like I was in a high school yet because there were still a good number of students at home.

To top it off, the whole day I felt like I was going to get lost on the way to my classes, and I ended up having to ask several of my teachers where some of my classes were. And even then, I still ended up in the wrong classroom at one point, something that is very stereotypical of freshmen throughout their first week in school because they’re new to the building. I know when I was a freshman, I got lost each time I got a new class, or when we went back to school after being quarantined for a period of time. And although many may claim that sophomores should know their way around by now, for this year’s sophomores, I would disagree. The only thing I remember from last year is how to get to all of my old classes, which isn’t really helpful considering I’m no longer taking those classes anymore. I mean, I don’t really need to know where my biology class is to help me get to chemistry.

And I’m not the only one that feels a little bit like a freshman. Sophomore Madison Fisher states, “I feel like as though we didn’t get the real welcome [to Doherty] and we didn’t know what we were walking into since we were never told how high school is from 8th grade.” This is something that many of this year’s freshmen experienced as their first day of school, and this year’s sophomores never got the chance to experience a typical first day of high school, because half of our class wasn’t even there.

Something else that makes me feel like a freshman is the absolute terror of talking to upperclassmen. I mean, just last year our current juniors were sophomores themselves, and yet the thought of walking over to a junior and trying to strike up a conversation with them is absolutely mind boggling. Now, the same could have been said for me last year, who was terrified to make eye contact with any upperclassmen, even the sophomores. Many of my friends felt the same way, so if you’re a freshman reading this, trust me, they’re not actually that scary. Many of the upperclassmen in all of my classes actually ended up being very nice to me, despite the fact that I was a freshman.

I feel like this alone is one of the biggest cliches that is projected about high school in the movies, that all upperclassmen are scary and hate freshmen. And while many of my friends joke about hating freshmen, I know that most of us can’t actually pick out the freshmen from everybody else in the hallways. I know that even for some juniors, they can feel slightly new to the school, as they have yet to have a full year of normal school. (Their freshman year was cut short by COVID-19.)

All things considering, seniors are the only ones currently attending Doherty who have had a full year of normal school, and that was their freshman year.

So I’m diagnosing the entire sophomore year with a case of freshmen-itis. Symptoms include feeling like a stereotypical freshman, which can include but is not limited to: getting lost in the school building, being afraid to talk to upperclassmen, and the general feeling like this is your first time ever being in a high school. I myself have got a bad case of freshman-itis. While I can’t speak for all sophomores, the ones that I’ve been talking to seem to agree.

So freshmen, if you’re feeling a little scared of all of the people and trying to find your way around the school, you’re not alone. For one thing, a lot of other freshmen can relate to that, you’re all new to the building, this is a great way to make friends. And being new to the building is a common trait, as sophomore Hunter Fredrickson puts it: “Even though I know where the different staircases are, I often find myself forgetting they’re an option because I’m not used to having to navigate that way.” 

And to all of the faculty reading this article, please be gentle with your sophomores. Many of us feel like freshmen, still very new to the whole high school environment and experience. And I’ve heard high school administrators at other high schools in the state are also taking a freshman-approach with their sophomores this year. Safe to say, you would not be alone if you decided to give your sophomores a bit of grace.

In all honesty, everyone deserves a bit of grace. Last year was hard, but I’m hopeful that this year will be better. So, freshmen, sophomore, junior, or senior, you can all still be suffering from freshmen-itis, so why not embrace it?