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The following is a dramatization of actual feelings. Any similarities to actual feelings is purely coincidental.

Being a freshman can be tough. No one takes you seriously. You were at the top of the heap at your old school, but now you’re back to the bottom. It seems like everyone hates you, and they do. Including me. To top it all off, here at Principia, you’ve been segregated from the community at large in your fancy-pants freshman dorms, and in your FYE you are only around other freshman. I don’t remember much of my freshman year. Actually, that’s a lie. I remember everything, but if I keep telling myself I don’t remember anything, eventually I won’t.

My FYE was at times a blissful utopia and at others it seemed like a feverish nightmare full of lightning and demonic horse-people booing me as I took to the soccer field without any pants on. But that’s beside the point. If you don’t know what the FYE program is here at Prin, you can look it up, or just read the next sentence. The First Year Experience is a system set up by a crack team of system-makers (I imagine 3 guys of various racial backgrounds and a woman eventually overcoming their differences to create a wonderful, heartwarming product just in time to save the world) designed to help freshmen experience their first year. I tried to interrogate a few freshmen and see what complaints they had with their FYE’s but all of them said the same snot-nosed thing, “I don’t hab andy problembs with bmy FYE.” Booooring! As a result, this entire article is based on my own experiences from my FYE last year. If any freshmen out there feel anything similar to how I felt, know that you are entirely alone and no one cares.

I remember how excited I was, “I’ll be in three classes centered on the same theme!” thought I, “What a wonderfully novel idea.” How ignorant I was of what life would be like when all of my teachers worked in congress with each other. Those of you who are seniors: what would college be like if every class you took had the exact same people in it, and your teachers knew the amount of homework your other teachers were giving you? That was partially a rhetorical question, but the answer is: not nearly as fun.

Personally, I live for the days when Providence sees fit to give me absolutely no homework from any of my classes. Granted, that also means there are weeks when I have two papers and a presentation due on a Friday. But college is all about staying up really late to do homework at literally the last minute. Look at it this way: normal college life is like a turbulent sea, huge waves crest and crash all around you, and it is up to you as captain of your little boat to stay afloat in these dangerous waters, to control the pitch and yaw of your boat and to try to keep your [sailors] from going overboard. And when you get out, you’ve got some crazy stories to tell in a pub somewhere as an old salt. In an FYE setting, for me, at least, it was like being stuck in the doldrums. Clear skies meant my boat wasn’t going anywhere, being around the same people all the time made me sick of them, mutiny seemed close at hand. The only thing that kept me amused was daydreaming and writing “depressing” short stories where everyone died or became hostile and I was forced to annihilate them in single combat.

What I am really trying to say with all of this is that I didn’t find that my FYE really prepared me for average college life. Most college teachers become your friends; you are in their class because you want to be there (that is the goal anyway), and you pay to be there. The FYE is supposed to be a transition from high school, but it shouldn’t be a continuation of high school. My two main problems with my FYE were these: that everyone else in the school looked like they were having more fun than I was while I sat in my room and made up stories about squirrels for my solo spot, and that I just felt like I was in high school still, complete with drama, laziness, and a social pecking order. It was really lame. The schoolwork was too consistent, too. Give me a ride through the Tierra del Fuego any day rather than three soporific classes. Ben Frederick out.

Post-script: After re-reading this article a few times, I’ve noticed that it is highly negative. If you’ve noticed that too, raise your hand. Keep it up there. I did have fun in my FYE, there is no doubt about that. Keep your hand raised. I learned a lot academically, and because of it I’ve made a steadily stronger commitment to the environment. Keep those hands up! I have positive and negative memories of my FYE experience, but negative experiences make people laugh more, and that’s my job so LAY OFF ME I’M DOING MY BEST! (The capitals mean I’m yelling, also please keep your hand raised.)

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