Do freshmen get picked on?
In this day and age of anti-bullying policies, I hope freshmen don’t get picked on. Depending on the culture of the school, there may be “traditions”; but they should certainly be good natured and nothing negative. Often freshman are housed together, tend to stick together, so there really is no opportunity for being picked on.
Sure, just like in high school. Although some school actively frown upon it.
College is definitely different than high school. There is no “Freshman Bang” week, where seniors beat up on the underclassmen in the hallway. There are no locker rooms (athletes aside) where it becomes very obvious who rules the school. Colleges for the most part, are going to be larger than your high school, and the trend of seniors being more popular than freshmen no longer applies. After all, many students take a non-traditional path and don’t graduate in four years, basically throwing the freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, structure out the window. And often, besides living in underclass residence halls, there’s usually no way to distinguish which students are freshmen, so even if upperclassmen wanted to pick on you, they’d have a tough time figuring out who you are. In the classroom, the year you are in school will have no effect on how you are graded or what groups you’re assigned. Your professors don’t care if you’re 18 or 80 taking their class, and will treat every student as equally qualified to be there and hold the same expectations for all students.
However, you will get the occasional ribbing at parties, and joining student clubs or organizations as a freshman may mean you have to work your way up to a leadership position. You will also probably have last choice in seating for large sporting events and your assigned parking spot will likely be way on the other side of campus. Even at smaller schools, freshman may have restrictions on them that upperclassmen may not have, including having to live on campus but not being able to keep a car on campus with you. The biggest upperclass perk is often the choice to pick your roommate – a choice freshmen often don’t get to make. However, each school is different, and the school you’re interested in may not have any differences at all when it comes to freshman versus upperclass students. The best way to find this out is simply to ask during a campus tour or campus visit.
It should also be noted that you will want to keep your head about you at parties, as some upperclassmen may want you to prove yourself by partaking in activities you may not be comfortable with just because you are a freshman(or new to the campus if you transfer). This, thankfully, is not the norm, but it is good to remember that you don’t have to stake your reputation on what happens at one party, so pass on any activity that makes you nervous. Whereas in high school, you saw the same students every day for four years, you have a lot more students at college, and while you will see some of the same students all the time, you often will have one class with a person and never see them again, or pass tons of random people in the student union who will have no idea how you spent your Friday night. Even at small liberal arts colleges, the sometimes clique-ish atmosphere of high school disappears, as college is a time where you can reinvent yourself time and again. Therefore, any teasing you might incur for not participating in some mindless prank won’t last long, and won’t parlay into the classroom the way it might have in high school.
Being picked on just because you are a freshman may happen when you’re in college. But mostly people will not care whether you are a freshman or not. Plus it really should be the last thing to worry about as you have more important things to concern yourself with – like finding your way around campus, adapting your study skills to much harder classes, and trying to navigate living with a roommate for the first time in your life. And if you do find yourself being the brunt of freshman hazing or are having trouble finding a way to fit in as a new student, talk to your Resident Advisor or an Orientation Leader on campus who can help you navigate the transition into college life and address any of your concerns.
This will obviously vary from school to school, but not really is the best answer. There may be some teasing, and the obligatory ‘aww they’re so tiny’ comments from upperclassmen, but unlike things like glasses, braces, or other factors that kids ‘pick on’ each other for, everyone at the school went through freshman year, so it’s not like you are being singled out for some unique feature about you. Any teasing is likely to be light hearted, and if not, is probably not something the school would tolerate if it were aware of it. However, if you are considered joining Greek life, especially a fraternity, keep in mind that part of the initiation process often involves ‘pledging,’ which is a period of hazing that each potential brother must endure. In this case you will be picked on, but pledging is an entirely voluntary process, and so no student should worry about unwanted attention in that sense.
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