Freshman year could never be a waste

Well, my first year of college is coming to an end, so I’m gonna be a clich? and reflect upon it. If you are a prospective freshman on a tour and pick up The Signal, here’s the real deal.

I had no idea of what to expect when coming to the College. In the time leading up to the Fall 2002, I heard a lot about the school. The first thing many people said was, “It’s all white kids!” The second thing I heard from some current students was something usually like, “You have to join a frat to have anything to do.”

Needless to say, I hoped neither was true.

What I found upon arrival was actually a mix between truth and rumor. Statistically, the number of minorities on campus is small compared to many other schools. I have found, however, that they make up for small numbers in other ways.

The minority student organizations have consistently arranged some of the best cultural and social programs, ranging from Affirmative Action mobilization to Chuck D of Public Enemy performances.

As for the Greek life, the minorities again saved the day.

Some members of the frats and sororities often appear to strive to be the stereotypes depicted in “Animal House.” I’ve read about the petty disagreements between sports teams and the frats, or about the ridiculous squabble over stolen pizza reported in the April 15 edition of The Signal.

However, the minority frats and sororities do a lot of meaningful things in addition to social events, including community service and helping to introduce a class on the American Holocausts, which sounds incredible.

While these two myths about the College were partially dispelled, there were other things, both positive and negative, which I found out for myself upon arrival.

I have found the faculty here to be amazing. I have been in contact with so many great professors, both in and out of the classroom. Some people bemoan the College’s “liberal faculty.”

Sometimes the word “liberal” is being used to disparage and discredit these professors, rather than provide an accurate assessment of the faculty.

It’s a shame that College professors who are forward-thinking, compassionate and possess a social conscience are simply dismissed as liberals.

The student body of the College as a whole is another interesting aspect of school. I’d have to assume that the students here are pretty typical, as at any similar college. I have met many great people and made some stong friendships. I’ve gotten involved with some great groups as well.

On the whole, I think it is hard to accurately categorize a large group of people as “active” or “indifferent.” As in any situation, there will be those that don’t give a damn about anything outside their little spheres. In terms of our campus, I’ve encountered some instances of apathy.

However, I have arrived at the conclusion that most students here do care about the world around them. Everyone shows compassion in different ways. Some take the streets in protest. Some write letters to the editor. Others simply discuss their ideas in class. All are valid forms of activism.

Finally, I’d like to thank the staff of The Signal for printing me week after week. They are a great group of people, and, above all, fair to all points of view.

I’ve heard some criticism about the paper.Again, that dreaded L word, liberal, is used to describe the paper and the staff. However, I have found that they are very fair, impartial, and professional.

All in all, I’d say that this year has been far from a waste. Personally, I have grown a great deal and learned so much in such a short time. Although the College seems to get a bad rap in many respects, no school is perfect.

Despite all the problems, I plan to be here for the remaining three years. With the College, you have to be in it for the long haul, for better or worse.