An open letter to upperclassmen: lay off the freshmen


A group of freshmen (from left, Jocelyn Ripley, Shaamin Khwaja, Terah Nguyen, Fatima Youssri, and Cece Walker) sit at a lunch table. While there is a social hierarchy at Mason, it isn’t an excuse to be mean to the freshmen.

Sam Mostow, Advertising & Social Media Editor

I remember walking into the Spirit Week pep rally during the second week of my freshman year. I was optimistic, excited for my first pep rally and my first real chance to make a mark on my new school. My enthusiasm quickly turned into dread as the jeering grew louder. 

“Freshmen suck!”

“Go home, freshmen!”

It’s hard enough walking into a new school, trying to figure out where your Block 2 class is and what exactly Mustang Block is, let alone having to figure out where your World Civ classroom is when someone directs you into the F hallway.

The whole point of student bonding events, such as football games or pep rallies, is to come together as a whole school, not to chant “move back freshmen!” in the student section. 

This doesn’t let freshmen off the hook. There is a social hierarchy in this school that needs to be respected. I’m not in favor of classism, but don’t give the upperclassmen ammunition by slapping someone in the lunch line or by bringing a whistle on the bus (you know who you are).

Every time I bring up this argument, I get shouted down by a junior or senior who says that the upperclassmen were mean to them while they were freshmen, so it is only fair that they get to be mean to this year’s freshmen. But would it be so bad to graduate as nicer people, improving Mason as a whole?

When you think about it, the freshmen are the most vulnerable people in the building. Nobody knows where to go or what to do next. Everybody remembers how terrified they were to start high school. Instead of scaring away freshmen and hurling insults at them, let’s welcome them with open arms and improve Mason as a byproduct.