August 19, 2009

Self-Help: For the 'Shmen from a 'Shman

"College is a great equalizer. Nobody knows about your past." These are the wise words of Professor David Blanchflower, as quoted from the Freshman Edition of the Dartmouth (I love that paper already). And these are the words on every freshman's mind.

Imagine! A whole new group of people who don't actually know what happened that embarrassing day in fourth grade! A whole new group of people who couldn't care less what color dress you wore to your junior high dance! A whole new group of people...

...And that's when the doubt starts to set in.

What if I'm not good enough? What if I don't make any friends? What if nobody likes me? What if everybody hates me? What if I have to go eat worms? (Old-fashioned joke there... It comes from having parents to whom you actually speak once in a while.)

These are the thoughts that suddenly swarm the poor, unsuspecting freshman's mind. Upperclassmen reading this, feel free to roll your oh-so-sophisticated eyes; but you know how it was. Don't you? Walking onto the campus for the first or second time, cringing back from enthusiastic older students as they give you the once-over, reassuring your parents that you really won't be contracting any sexually transmitted diseases in the next few months... and doing a double take as they honestly don't believe you.

But, listen, my fellow freshmen: I'm here to tell you that it's all going to be okay. Everyone has their moments of doubt. But, really, it's all going to be okay.

Sure, you'll stutter when you meet (-cough- just meet) that cute '11. And you'll probably end up screaming your deepest secrets from the center of the Green at four a.m.... But that's what college is about, right? (That, and writing essays for your 10A at four-thirty a.m., right after you're done spilling those secrets.)

And sure, I'm just a freshman too, and what do I know? But I do know a lot about people, and the self-doubt I see coming from my classmates is something I recognize from its natural place in every human being. So here is what I say to you: Have confidence in yourself. You are an amazing person. You will have an awesome time during this first fall term. I repeat: Everything is going to be okay.



  1. Anonymous11:10 PM

    "I love that paper already."

    This quote proves how little freshmen know about Dartmouth and how much you have to learn. Trust me, The D is crap, as you will see as soon as you talk to a former reporter, attend an event and read its coverage the next day, or give it a quote of your own and see it horribly mangled the next day. I guarantee it. I would bet that the freshman approval rating of the D is usually around 80% and everyone else is more aalong the lines of 20%.

  2. Anonymous11:12 PM

    Don't get me wrong - there's lots you'll love about Dartmouth, it's a wonderful place, I don't want to squash your enthusiasm - but, do understand that every year, the freshmen have much to learn.

  3. Thank you. I'll keep that in mind. I do realize that I have a lot to learn... But I figure while I'm learning it I'll enjoy being enthusiastic like a good little freshman.