I wish I were a freshman

I wish I were a freshman

11/2/2008

Kenneth Burchfiel

When I was a freshman, I envied the seniors more than anyone else in the school. Perhaps it was the car keys, or the amusement park trips, or the knowledge that college was just a year away. It’s strange, though. I’m now a 12th grader myself, yet I find myself envying the freshmen.

Oh, sure, it’s nice to drive home from school. I do enjoy getting out five minutes early on Friday. But for the most part, I’ve had little—if any—time to enjoy what’s supposed to be the best year of high school. In one class alone, I’ve answered 180 multiple-choice questions, written six in-class essays and one eight-page research paper and summarized, cited and analyzed 50 newspaper articles. That’s not to say my other courses have been any easier, despite my intentions to enjoy my last year at Mclean.

The problem with the 12th-grade schedule, however, is that it includes more courses than what you see on the transcript. Take that fun class called Applications. For homework, you write a mess of college essays, fill out “supplement” after “supplement,” rush to get three types of response forms into the counselor, solicit teachers for recommendation essays, spend Saturday mornings taking—or retaking—tests you were supposed to have finished months ago, market yourself in college interviews, rush around the country visiting schools, fork over hundreds of dollars for application fees, convince your parents to let you apply out-of-state, fill out financial aid and scholarship forms—and, once all that’s said and done, pray for big, juicy packets to appear in the mailbox with “Congratulations!” on the front. Rest assured, underclassmen: your history paper will seem a breeze compared to the sort of work college applications has come to be. Oh, and don’t forget: this is one of the worst times you could ever apply for higher education, considering the competition and the costs.

All the while, the freshman have had quite a blast. They’ve had far more groups events than the Class of ’09, if you count the orientation session and McLeadership meetings. Each student has an upperclassmen that they can call on for homework help and advice. (Imagine if every senior had a freshman who would fill out college forms for them!) The Class of ’12 even boasts their very own room—G255—dedicated to them for after-school tutoring and relaxation. (What do the seniors get? A parking spot.)

I don’t want to sound underappreciative. After all, I’m looking forward to June as much as any other senior. Unfortunately, Hershey’s Park and Graduation are still hundreds of days away. In the meantime, I have applications due for colleges whose rejection rates have increased as steadily as my workload.

The rest of the school sees us when we’re at our happiest: socializing in the halls; looking goofy on the morning show; fighting for McLean on the field and the court; and, of course, driving home from school. That, at least, was how I used to perceive senior year. What underclassmen don’t see are our all-night homework sessions, our frantic studying for AP tests and our rush to get college applications taken care of. Rest assured, anyone who judges senior year by what they see in High School Musical 3 are in for quite a shock.

I admit it, freshmen: I wish I were one of you. Kids might have looked down on me (in more ways than one) when I was in the ninth grade, but at least I got to bed before midnight. At least I didn’t sweat over test scores and essay deadlines like I do now. We get a couple more privileges than you, but few of us have any time to enjoy them.

Enjoy your years as underclassmen, Class of 2012. After all, when your turn to be seniors rolls around, you may find yourself jealous of the Class of 2015.

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