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The Daily Tar Heel

Freshmen, you are the school's foundation

Dear upperclassmen: We all know what you’re thinking when you see us.

We’ve seen you smirk when we get lost and ask for directions or when we ask you for advice about classes. We can read your minds and hear your thoughts — they’re screaming “FRESHMAN.”

I affectionately call it the freshman vibe. It permeates our entire being everywhere we go and no matter what, we can’t hide it. It’s like bad B.O. in that way. Everything from our clothes and our manner of speech to our “swagger” gives off this distinct, poignant newness, an aura of innocence if you will. We’re fresh — we’re virgin. And you mock us for it.

The most generous of you think we’re adorable — or at least pitiable. But it’s obvious that many of you find us glaringly obnoxious in our anxiety. To be honest, if I were in your position, I’d probably think the same way. To be even more honest, sometimes I do think the same way when I see my peers looking lost and helpless, as I surreptitiously give myself a pat on the back for being able to figure out the no-brainer that so perplexes them.

This is life at the bottom of the totem pole. We freshmen are all racing to find out where we’re going to fit in here at this gargantuan University that we now call home. We are searching for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow — recognition from the other appendages of the student body that we have proven ourselves to indeed be an integral part of this school. In the most gushing terms possible, we look up to you guys and we want to emulate your perfect balance of cool, fun and smart.

Aww, aren’t we cute now?

You all were freshmen once, not so long ago, and it would be too easy to keep up the role of the traditional freshman, like all of you did. But maybe, just maybe, we don’t need to follow in your footsteps.

Perhaps we can dip our heels in a new type of tar. After all, as the bottom of the totem pole, we are the foundation of the school. We have our whole college careers ahead of us and thus the school should cater to our desires. Other than our slightly uneven male to female ratio, we are a very diverse class and dare I suggest, probably the most intelligent.

It might seem silly to boast about these petty differences — next year’s incoming class will surely outperform us in impressive statistics just as we likely outperformed you.

But the only difference is, the class of 2014 is going to make the most of it while we’re here.

Freshmen, I challenge you not to get sucked into thinking that our youth hinders the pursuit of our ambitions — if anything, it’s the opposite. We are in a position of power. Let’s prove our worth to our fellow schoolmates and claim our stake, eradicating our inferiority complex.

Although we’re the most recent addition to the UNC family, we have just as much right as the rest. Let’s flaunt our privilege like the freshies that we are.
Haters are going to hate. And besides, the top of the totem pole gets the most bird poo on it anyway.

Saffa Khan is the Freshman Perspective Columnist for The Daily Tar Heel. She is a freshman undecided major from Chapel Hill. Email her at

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