“Don’t Assume:” Freshmen Respond to the Stereotypes

Editor’s Note: This article is a response to the opinion story Move Ninth Grade to Middle School.

There are times when there should be NEST traffic reports in some hallways. They’re often teeming with people that stand in the middle or line the sides, chattering or shouting: nuisance galore! Our hallway horror stories have involved at some point a wall of members of the Class of 2015 – this year’s freshmen.

If you’re an upperclassman, you’re likely annoyed – or outraged – that some freshmen act inconsiderately towards the poor student that wishes to walk the halls without disruption. Then again, you’re annoyed at all ignorant acts that inconvenience or disgust, from strewn trash on the floor, to sudden vocal bursts and occasional fights.

Yet is ignorance ever constricted to a single class? Is it just to generalize a class because of the few that are immature? Moreover: do 9th graders really deserve to stay in middle school a year longer?

Maturity and its potential know no age, as Katie O’Donnell (’15) argues, saying that “Everyone in our grade [2015] has high potential [for it], but there are those who don’t reach it in each grade.” Such a potential “depends on experience,” also argues Crystal Simmons (’15), to whom O’Donnell adds, “It’s not about age.” Following this logic, some freshmen therefore are more mature than some juniors and seniors (and vice versa). Simmons continues, saying that “There are a lot of those walking down the halls doing nothing that are upperclassmen.” Katy Arevalo (’15) states, “I also see the same [extreme immaturity] in the upper classes.” Upperclassmen are just as guilty as anyone for immaturity.

So what, then, of the “immature” freshmen we notice? They are, in the words of Ricky Hosier (’15), the lowest common denominator of the class.

The state of immaturity would be much worse if 9th grade was a middle school year. Noemi Arquero (’15) affirmed, “If three years isn’t enough, then what are we doing?” noting what a waste of time it would be to delay the transition period. “More than half of the stuff we experience now we can deal with,” she continues. Growing up is the inevitable, and regardless of how some react poorly, 9th grade gives the proper moment of transition. Simmons finds necessity the year of change, stressing that “balance is a major lesson to learn in time and learning” during the time. Isn’t it?

Many freshmen themselves were fuming over the “irresponsible” stereotype upperclassmen hold them to, and were sure that most of their own peers would agree that it doesn’t represent them well at all. Consider the freshmen unbound by the stereotype. Laila Abujuma (’15) seems to have not known too many lazy NESTs. “NEST has helped me, especially with tutoring, and it’s helped me keep my grades high,” she says during her lunch break. Devin Brown (’15) counters the freshman label, saying that “Many of us are hard workers that want to get ready for life after school.” Kylie Green (’15) best summed up what freshmen wish to tell us about themselves: “Don’t assume.”

As cliché as it is, a common and true refrain among freshmen is that we were once freshmen, and that they deserve as much as a chance to grow as we did. It’s something easy to forget when you go up the age ladder, and something to keep in mind the next time you see a freshman in the halls.