Why we hate freshmen


by Ann Butler, Staff Writer

Every year, students are spoken to about kindness and friendship amongst the grades and how the incoming freshmen need to be treated with both of them instead of constant alienation. This is despite a fact that we all know: freshmen are lame.

As much as we can talk about how “freshman hate” is hazing and bullying, it also serves a functional purpose. The culture shock that kids face going into high school makes it a hard transition, but freshmen are up to the challenge. The culture of the high school is one that refuses to put up with middle school personalities, and especially when we share a building with eleven year olds, it is important to draw a thick line in the sand. It’s a way of saying “you’d better grow up now because we aren’t here to deal with your immaturity”.

Freshmen alienation is not dead in our school, but you would be hard pressed to find anywhere that immediately embraces batches of new people. To join a community, you have to show that you are willing to accommodate the culture, and only then will you be accepted. This doesn’t have to take away from diversity. We can make jokes about being turned into mindless drones for “the man,” but high school isn’t about that. All upperclassmen ask is that freshmen show they are willing to adhere to the unwritten rules of the school, and then we can all get along.

When I was a freshman, I had already heard for eight years from my older siblings about the school’s hierarchy and how to work with it to bypass the image of a stereotypical freshman. Knowing how inconsiderate of others I was in eighth grade, I would have been eaten alive without their sage advice.

I kept a low profile, folding to everything upperclassmen said and trying my best to avoid making waves. I learned to be a high schooler through the mistakes I saw others make. Friends of mine have had less luck than me. Their freshman year was far more difficult, but given how much we grew that year because of it, it was for the better.

Freshman year is for learning, so don’t be afraid to learn from upperclassmen. Play the game. Follow their lead and let them set the tone of a conversation, but don’t be afraid. By the end of the year, upperclassmen are less intimidating than they were, which is all the more reason to be nice to them.

Freshmen, upperclassmen don’t hate you, we just hate what you are. Try not to take it personally. Until you mature into high schoolers, you are eighth graders, something that isn’t inherently a bad thing, but we have to expect a certain level of maturity from you that is higher than the average middle schooler.

That said, I’m not going to recommend my strategy of radical compliance. For shyer people, it will be easier to stay back and let others take up the bulk of the conversation, but for louder people, don’t hide yourself. Don’t let yourself be so afraid of upperclassmen that you force yourself to hide away until you are one.

Just know that you have nothing to prove, so don’t be stubborn. We can all agree that the tone of middle school is different from the tone of high school, so if you play into that, things will be easier for you.