Upperclassment give guidance for many first year students

by Kristen Erickson

Whether working out, eating lunch or just trying to get to class, an upperclassman can’t do much at Simpson without encountering a freshman or two.

Luckily this doesn’t seem to pose many problems for Simpson students.

“It’s more fun and more exciting when there are more people around,” said Abby Smith, a senior who is happy with the large size of the incoming freshman class.

Other seniors share Smith’s outlook: “The more the merrier,” Mark Klaus said.

In a small college where everyone seems to know everyone else, having a large incoming class provides the opportunity to get to know more people-an especially eagerly anticipated event for upperclassmen looking to meet people of the opposite sex. More people means more potential and, as Klaus said, “more opportunities to get shot down.”

These new opportunities also pose new logistical problems. All first-year students need adequate housing, parking space and food.

Still, upperclassmen seem willing to share Simpson’s resources and even offer advice on how to maximize what Simpson has to offer.

“Get out and meet as many people as you can,” Smith said. She also urges first-year students to “study abroad and try new things.”

Klaus also encourages students to maximize their freshman experience: “You only have your freshman year once and it goes by fast,” he said.

However, this doesn’t mean the upperclassmen advocate reckless behavior. Instead, seniors encourage finding an appropriate mix of leisure and learning.

“You actually do need to study a little bit,” said Bob Swanson, senior. “There needs to be a balance between drinking and school work.”

Smith agrees with the need for balance. She said she wishes she had taken more time as a freshman to listen, read and study, and spent less time focusing on the social aspect of college life.

Both Smith and Klaus also addressed first-year students’ tendencies to affiliate themselves exclusively with a certain group and getting caught up in cliques.

“Stay true to your self,” Smith said. “Don’t just make decisions based on friends.”

While it would be great to have all the knowledge and experience of an upperclassman when first starting out at college, all first-year students have to learn from their own mistakes before perfecting their own systems. Still, Smith said, this year’s incoming class seems to be doing a pretty good job of blending in to the everyday Simpson scene.

According to Swanson, there is still one small piece of advice to help the first-years blend in better: Don’t talk on your cell phones while walking across campus.

Besides, with all the new people to meet, books to read and fun to have, who has time to be talking on the phone?