First Years

We don’t have freshmen at Drake.  I mean, we do; they’re just called first year students.  At first, I thought this was kind of a silly semantic distinction. If it’s your first year, you’re a freshman, if you’re a freshman, it’s your first year. In fact, it almost sounded a little pretentious to use the term “first year” like we were in law school or just starting off at Hogwarts. And people I talked to definitely looked at me skeptically when I told them I was a first year. So although I used the term like the rest of the University, I never really embraced it.

I felt this way for most of my own first year, and then maybe forgot about it all in my sophomore year. (Spoiler alert: there’s a twist coming!) But in my junior year, I’ve begun to understand the real importance of the first year terminology. You see, it’s a matter of respect. While the label “freshmen” has some negative connotations, “first year” is a more accurate and more inclusive word for the incoming Drake class. And the philosophy at Drake is that our first year students deserve our respect. This isn’t a John Hughes movie and our new students aren’t demeaned and pushed into trashcans. They’re Bulldogs, and thus a really important part of our Drake community, no matter how long they’ve been here.

But even more so, the first years I’ve met are really worthy of respect. In fact, they’re pretty impressive. In my extra curriculars and classes, and just around campus, I’ve met a bunch of smart, talented, and all around lovely first year students. And not a freshman in sight…

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