From the awkward introductions to the uncountable Ramen noodle dinners, freshmen may be naive but their outlook on life is something that we frequently overlook.
2400 hours of sitting in class, eating, sleeping, burning the midnight oil, hanging out with friends, and eating some more.
For many 20-somethings in the U.S., these will be the last 100 days (or so) of being a college student, myself included.
It's a stressful time. Not only are we expected to work and study and have fun, but we're also expected to find a job, find a new place to live, and make something worthwhile out of the rest of our lives. Please pass me the tub of ice cream while I sit in the corner and shun all responsibilities now.
As humans, I think we're naturally inclined to think about the future and linger over it. I mean, look at psychologists - using all sorts of techniques to study behavior in the hopes of predicting it later. Its our constant questioning of "where am I going?" that makes us forget to stop and appreciate where we have been. Sometimes, being focused on the future can leave you feeling empty. It's like using a yardstick to measure where you're at and where you hope to be - you'll always end up a little short (or, like, a ton short).
Being seniors, we also tend to take things for granted; we have become so highly specialized in the art of "being a college student" that the details are no longer there. We get up, go to class, have lunch, go to work, come back, do homework, hang out, go to sleep, and repeat.
That's why I propose that we should all think like freshmen a bit more. I remember being a pseudo-freshman (transfer student) at Linfield and being overwhelmed and so intrigued by my new surroundings. This is my first time living on my own - what an accomplishment! What are all these clubs on campus - I'll join all of them! (At my first cognitive psychology class) Cognitive dissonance - cool!
Okay, so I'm exaggerating (and I'm a nerd). But the point is, freshmen see things through a different lens. Every little thing amazes them. Small accomplishments are celebrated - my first class, my first day of work, my first paycheck. Freshmen haven't had the time to form cliques yet, and so are more open to meeting and talking to just about anyone. Freshmen are humble (most of the time) and are humbled by everything around them. They probably call home more often than we do, join more clubs than we do, and are probably more open to taking risks. They try all the courses to find out what they like, and aren't battered down by the future because they know that's a long time away. Also, they're more likely not to be the ones ditching class or taking shortcuts on assignments, like what most of us seniors are guilty of....
Doesn't that sound like a swell way to live life? I'm not saying, "be naive"; use all that senior savvy, but see things the way a freshman would. I believe we might be able to discover new things in the details, meet new people, and feel a lot more carefree in an environment that many would liken to a pressure cooker.
If you're feeling stressed out today, or any day, just stop and think about what freshman you would say or do in your situation. At the very least, you'll have the opportunity to reflect on how much luckier you are now that you don't have to eat cafeteria food, or share a bathroom with 17 other human beings.