Fun with First Years

Did you know that, at least at the school I currently attend, they don’t call them ‘freshmen’ any more?  They are now called ‘first years.’  Some part of a political correctness blahdity blah, I’m sure.  They’re still freshmen.

Any-who…considering the fact that I am at least 10 years older than the vast majority of students at RU, it was bound to happen that I would run across some interesting creatures that would either intrigue me or try my patience.  I’ve found both, and it’s amazing to me how dichotomous the members of this particular population can be.

Case in point (and this is a perfect example):  I happen to know 2 young women who are both part of the Pharmacy program at my school (I will not hate them, I will not hate them…because, you know, that’s the program I want to be in, but they don’t consider non-traditionals when they create their 0-6 program…whatever, I’m not bitter.)  The two of them could not be more opposite from one another.

The first one, I completely understand why she was admitted.  The girl’s got smarts and she is driven.  Aside from the over-interjection of the word ‘like’ in conversation (an unconscious habit that many people that age have, well into their early 20’s), she is well spoken and seems to have a grip on the present and goals for the future.  Sometimes, I wish I was a little more driven like her.  Maybe my grades would be a bit better.

The other one?  Well, people like her make me wonder what they hell were they thinking when they admitted her to the program.  It makes me very aggravated, in fact.  The pharm students are typically viewed as one of the smartest populations at school, and yet somehow, she managed to slip by.  Of course, now that she’s in, she only has to maintain a 2.8 GPA, whereas someone like me has to fight tooth and nail just to get an interview by the time I’m ready to apply for pharm school.

Conversations I’ve had with second student:

Young female student: I wish I could switch brains with you…just for math and chemistry.
Me: And what good would that do me?

Yes, that was a real interaction, and yes, I actually said that out loud.  I apologized shortly thereafter, but really, considering the fact the girl had failed the tests we’d had in those subjects, I thought it was a valid question.

YFS: So, before you came back to school, what did you do with all your free time?
Me: **crickets**

Seriously, I just stared at her for a few seconds before I could even think of what to say.  Considering the fact that I was working a full time job (and sometimes more than 40 hours a week) along with all the other stuff you do to maintain some minor semblance of life (you know, roof over your head, food on the table, toilet paper in the bathroom…), it just boggled me that she would think that I had all this free time because I wasn’t in school (which, in fact, I actually was, only I was taking courses online at the time.)  I mean, she lives with her parents…does she not see what they do day after day to make life livable?

I will not deny, there are definitely some great young people out there.  But sometimes, you just have to wonder…

About maggyruth

Mid-thirties, Mid-Atlantic transplant. Fiber-artist, hidden poet, health educator, student. Still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I swear sometimes. Especially when I'm mad. Deal with it. View all posts by maggyruth

13 responses to “Fun with First Years

  • Rob Diaz

    I often wonder the same things…

    Interesting corollary to your intro paragraph: I was at Rutgers when the whole “First Year Student” thing was going down. Yes, I’m that old. Anyway, there was a lot of debate about it because, well, the point was that the term “freshman” made some… people who are not male… feel that they couldn’t go to college because, well, freshmen had to be men… says so right in the title!

    Note, my difficulty in putting in a descriptor about who felt that. I can’t say “women” because it has the word “men” in it. Can’t say “ladies” because it has the word “lad” in it. Can’t say “females” because that has the word “male” in it. Can’t say “girls” because that’ll just get me slapped.

    So the debate raged on along those very lines. “First year student” is still sexist because it has the word “stud” in it. “First year human being” has the word “man” in it. Can’t say “first year person” because it has the word “son” in it.

    We eventually settled it with “First year learning hu-per being.” Apparently, this didn’t catch on as we’d hoped it would.

    • gritlysweettea

      Really, the whole thing just makes me think of “Legally Blonde” where that one chick wanted to call the school term in January the “winter oo-vester.” Because, you know, that makes SO much more sense.
      And actually, the word ‘student’ isn’t generally included when speaking about that particular population…they are just referred to as “First years.” What the hell does that even mean?

      • Rob Diaz

        I’m guessing that they dropped “student” because of the aforementioned argument about the embedded term “stud”. “First years” is probably just what got left over.

        Either that or it’s been done in deference to Harry Potter. Which, personally, would be fine.

    • Jess

      You can say women. Really.

      • gritlysweettea

        If anyone knows that, it’s Rob. This is a guy who probably spent more time on Douglass campus during his tenure at RU then a lot of women did… 😉

  • Melissa Hicks

    I’m a nontraditional (old) student as well. This post made me feel good and realize I’m not alone.

    One of the first things my college taught me is that I have a few more stereotypes than I’d like to admit. I steer clear of: blond girls, skinny girls, anyone with sports equipment, and people under the age of 25. It left me a rapidly narrowing pool to draw from.

    I also totally get the bitter/resentful vibe. I went back to school because life kicked my ass, and I needed a way up. These guys are where I never was, and in large part their Dad pays for it. I find myself upset equally by “really good students” who have 12 hours everyday for nothing but homework and study, and “giggly blond things” who waste the opportunity I wish I gotten sooner.

    I suspect as your at a real University and I’m still in Community College, I will only encounter more of this when I transfer next year. Still, thanks for the laugh and the commiseration. Looking forward to reading more!

    • gritlysweettea

      Yeah, sometimes there is a bit of resentment towards the ‘really good student’ who doesn’t necessarily have the same worries/day-to-day stuff that are a part of my life, but hey, that’s just the way it worked out for me. All I can do is kick my own ass a little harder and (in my case) be thankful that my husband sees helping me with my homework at “together time.”
      You are correct in that I am at a traditional 4-year university. When I was fresh out of high school, though, I did attend a community college (hey, you do what you can do, right?) I actually had a very opposite experience then, as I was by far the youngest person in any of my classes. There was one lady in particular who didn’t like me, but I think it was more that I got better grades than she did (please note that I was working about 30 hours a week while I was in school full-time, so, again, I wasn’t necessarily the ‘typical’ traditional age student.
      You are also correct in that you will encounter proportionally more young people at a traditional university. When you head there, make sure to seek out non-traditional student services. My particular college has several organizations that I’m a part of that have helped me feel not quite so alone (I mean, only 6% of the student pop where I am is “non-traditional.”

      Glad you enjoyed the read. Thanks for stopping by!

  • playdeezgames

    I think I would have gone with “freshpersons” really, although that needs to change to “freshpersuns” in order to completely emasculate it.
    Although I suppose “first year” is likely way better than the *REAL* term I have for them.

  • Jess

    I tend to use “first year” for myself because I’m non-traditional. “Freshmen” seems better applied to those coming to college “fresh” out of high school.

  • Rob Diaz

    Hee hee… Yes, I know that. I became known as “the original Douglass Man” by the women living in my wife’s dorm (my girlfriend at the time). Nearly all of my classes were on that campus and since Ginny was there, I basically came over from College Ave. in the morning and chased after the last bus of the night. Ginny’s dorm-mates would sign me in, even if Ginny wasn’t there because, well, they all liked me. They called me “Roberta” because, well, then it was less weird.

    Well, in a way…

  • itchbay

    Ahahaha. Yes, this is my life. Junior College is just that much more “entertaining.” Some of my best stories involve:

    First day of class, “Dude. I’m soooo skipping this class.”

    Every single time we have a test: “Does someone have a scan-tron I can ‘borrow?'”

    Day of the final exam: “I’m still drunk from last night.”

    I’m transferring to a “real” university next semester, but I don’t expect it to be a huge improvement, although I’ll mostly be taking upper division classes, which will help.

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