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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

"Can you tell me where a bus stop is?"

This was a question asked of myself and my friend as we were strolling down Stadium Road.

It was, of course, asked by a bewildered freshman.

Torn between my understanding that he was probably not articulating his query most effectively and my desire to get rid of him, I furrowed my brow for a moment, then pointed 20 feet behind me to the nearest bus stop.

I said, "There's one," and resumed walking after he scampered off.

I know, I know, I should have asked him where he needed to go and directed him to the most efficacious route for his destination.

But I did not.

Perhaps I have already grown cynical of the freshman invasion. Now reminiscent to me of a virulent parasite descending on a prosperous and fertile land, I suppose the freshman epidemic has lost any of its nostalgic value in my estimation.

I am sure I share many others' confusion at the inclusion of a story describing freshman David Habib's absolutely enthralling morning routine in Tuesday's paper. I cried at the part where he said his favorite color is blue. Doesn't Ms. Morrow know nobody cares?

That is one of the most vital things to realize as a freshman: The only people who care that you are a freshman are other freshmen, hoping to band together for some sort of coalition to withstand the collective ill will of your new community.

But worry not, freshmen: Perhaps my sentiments are not completely universal.

Maybe, for the most part, everyone bears goodwill for your successful existence at this institution. Probably not, though.

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Regardless of upperclassmen loathing, however, the freshman class has consistently survived all ill will thrown its way. Look at the Seminole (the UF yearbook prior to 1983) for some insight into the timeless tradition of freshman bashing.

The 1954 edition describes weary orientation group leaders ambling around campus with a train of wide-eyed freshmen, enduring volleys of repeated obvious questions such as, "What time does writing lab meet on Monday?" "Where do I get my football tickets?" etc., etc.

I am sure all Preview students can relate to the 1955 edition's description of orientation as "group leaders loading you with information soon forgotten, later remembered as being somewhat exaggerated but in good faith."

Another eternal tradition emerges in the description of Greeks descending on the freshman class like ravenous wolves in search of new frat boys and sorority girls. Though now their rush week tactics have more of a luring mentality to them, the outcome is essentially the same.

More common ground is found in the 1949 edition's description of freshman registration as the "epitome of torture," but let's not forget the present-day advantages of the Internet and, praise the Lord, AC.

So there you have it, freshies. While you may be a cancerous growth or an abundance of sticky platelets clogging the vital arteries of our grand institution, you have always been viewed that way.

The majority of you have survived, and you will probably feel the same way in a year or so.

And be thankful: If I had my way, you would all still have to wear rat caps.

Nate Rushing is a history junior.

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