Jack Black and Michael Cera in their hit movie, Year One, portraying first-years.
By Quint Turner
So-called “liberal” Colleges, you may have noticed, have started a trend of renaming “freshmen” to “first-years.” These institutions always justify this decision with a vague reason like “first-year doesn’t reinforce the patriarchy” or “freshman uses the word fresh which is copyrighted by Subway.” While both those statements are true, I believe the shift is ruining the college vernacular.
For example, it’s no longer the “freshman fifteen.” It’s the “first-year forty.”
But freshman doesn’t only promote less sudden weight gain, it is also a more progressive term by nature. In order to prove this, I will use the tried and true five-paragraph essay which I learned as a high school freshman. Welcome to the topic paragraph.
And just like that, now it’s time for argument number one: Freshman is more progressive since the term denotes an actual person. Yes, I know it is a “man” that is implied, but what the heck is a first-year? Sounds like a corporate buzzword rather than a person to me.
Moving right along without any transitions, the term first-year is also stuck in the past. It refers to either 1 B.C. or 1 A.D, plain and simple. But with freshmen, every crop of them is fresh. As in new or exciting. And most of the time they smell pretty good, too. Where freshman begs for an exclamation point, First-year screams for ellipses…
Finally, just to drive the point home: no matter what Skidmore or other liberal arts colleges say, as long as high schools use the term “freshman,” it’s going to be impossible to fix. And since high school teaches younger people, it is more emblematic of the future and therefore more progressive than a liberal arts college.
In conclusion, my thesis that “freshman” is more progressive than “first-year” is correct. Now please allow me to pass the state tests so I can move up with to the sophomore class like I should be.