The Freshman Frenzy

It is the first day of school. You walk into an unfamiliar lunchroom and awkwardly search for a place to sit. For all you know, you just do not want to sit alone. The reality is everyone notices a new kid. In high school, this fact was tested time and time again. When I started college, I decided to test this phenomenon once again. I was not shocked to find the exact same response as usual. This time, the phenomenon was on a much larger scale. The name of this observation is “the Freshman Frenzy.” What is it, and why does it happen? Who does it affect, and why does it matter to matter to me? This occurrence has led to many jokes, stereotypes and even a few videos about campus relationships. All of these questions form the foundation of dating relationships on college campuses. It is not just an interesting observation to log away and forget, but an important part in setting boundaries in relationships.

The Freshman Frenzy is best defined as the insatiable urge to date a person during your first year in a new environment; however, it does not merely apply to your freshman year of high school or college when you are labeled a literal freshman. Sophomore Kao Lee expounded on the phenomena, “I feel like it happens, almost anywhere. Even in churches, because you didn’t grow up with them. You feel like since they’re new, you may have a chance over someone you grew up with and don’t feel like you will develop feeling for them. It’s like, you wanna test it to see if you have a chance with the new person since you haven’t developed feelings for the others who have been in your life thus far. And, because the freshmen do not know people’s backgrounds so you can make yourself someone new.” With so much opinion floating in conversation and daily life, it is important to understand where you stand with the development of deep relationships in an expedient manner.

Now, do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with making new friends, hanging out with great people, and getting to know others on a more personal level. Problems do arise when perspective is lost, and amongst all the great hours of social life, boundaries are distorted. As this article comes to a close, here are some friendly suggestions agreed upon by residence life staff:

1) Keep perspective.

The campus only consists of about 800 students. According to the National Center for Educational statistics, that’s about the average size of an American high school. For however dramatic relationships were in high school, imagine living with everyone you go to school with. You do not leave any relationships that you create at school or church. You now live there.

If you break up, you’ll still see that person all the time, and your friends will laugh.

2) Develop a friend group first.

Moriah Johnson, a sophomore RA, states, “You’re starting to invent yourself in this new environment and that is hard to do when you are attached to someone who is trying to invent themselves also.” If you become friends with people first, dating will be healthier in general. You can’t judge a person until you’ve know them awhile. To start dating someone within the first year, you are dating someone you really don’t know.

If you do decide to start a relationship during your first few months in a new environment, here are some guidelines which will help in making your relationship more overall stable.

3) Start slow, real real real slow (like, snail slow).

Remember back to the fact that you probably do not know the person who you would like to date. There is no shame in waiting to know a person until you feel ready to make it “official.”

4) Don’t spend all your time together.

Good boundaries are the name of the game when it comes to starting a healthy relationship. There was once a girl who dated her boyfriend from her freshman year of college to her senior year. At the beginning of her senior year, the couple broke up and she realized she did not know how to live life without her boyfriend. I’ve heard the same story from a man’s point of view as well. Either way, there is a need to understand you individual worth without the constant presence of a significant other. Figure out who you are and let them figure out who they are.

Every student is at college for one reason or another. This phase of life is chocked full of potential for which you can use however you want. Relationships are not the problem. However, seeking deep relationships too fast can lead to inevitable trouble. So, touch the bells, watch the YouTube videos, have fun, but keep perspective in your relationships. You may just have them for the rest of your life.

Warning: Syllabus Shock May Power Surge

As a freshman, I had never heard the term “syllabus shock.” What could be so bad about a syllabus? Doesn’t everyone love them? They seemed harmless enough. So in my naivety I charged forward and started collecting these mysterious syllabi. One for Music Theory, one for Aural Skills, one for Choir, and one for Freshman Comp. By the end of the day, I had gathered a large sum of papers. I looked over them and thought “this is going to be easy” and then went to bed. The next day, I woke up, grabbed my backpack (I needed a place to put my new syllabi), and headed to class. One for Teacher Orientation, one for College Choir, and one for Recital Attendance. When I got to the cafeteria for lunch, I was expecting a syllabus for that too. I can handle this though! I really can. I hope I can.

More syllabi were handed out the next day. I even received a revised syllabus! What treachery was this? Is it even legal to give out so many pieces of paper? By the end of the week, I had enough syllabi to compose a novella. To make matters worse, I had not even organized them. So when I needed to know the class requirement for, say, my English class, I had to hunt through all my papers in order to do so: a process that took entirely too long. I wondered if this was a normal experience. Did it happen to everyone? How do people deal with it? What methods are effective for keeping track of my classes? Thankfully, Professor Stufft had some great tips that he learned from his Sunday school teacher. Each night, sit at a desk with your books (or syllabi) on the left side of the desk. Go through each one and review it. Do the work or read the book so the material stays fresh in your mind, and then put it on the right side of the desk. If you don’t want to do a certain subject yet, just put it back in the pile on the left. Make sure you take care of it before you go to bed though. This method helps you keep track of your classes and the topics stay fresh in your mind. If you do this every night you won’t have to worry about pop quizzes because you will be able to recall the answers from memory.

There is one downside to this method: It takes discipline! We would rather go to the coffee shop with friends than do homework. It is a lot easier to do fun things like hiking, playing card games, and sports. But if you use this method for one week, I am sure you will see how beneficial it is. Since I have started using this method, I have not gotten behind or missed an assignment; an indicator that this technique works.

One other routine I have gotten into is carrying my backpack around with all my papers in it. That way I can work on homework wherever I am. If I have a few extra minutes before class starts, I can take out my notebook and work on my Freshman Composition paper, or I can read a few verses for Spiritual Formation. The key is to actually do the work! Some students carry planners with them. This is a good idea because you can write down new assignments so you don’t lose track of them. Others may just write down the dates in a notebook. Whichever method you use, make sure it works for you.

Effective time management is a very important aspect of success at college. But it is also something that many college students (not just freshman) don’t know how to do well. So if you are feeling stressed or worried, talk to someone. Whether it be a friend or one of the school counselors, just find a good person to talk with. You may be surprised at how much it helps.