Stunting freshman growth on Old Campus

Virtually every night — and certainly Fridays and Saturdays — Old Campus is rocking with numerous gatherings. These offer a chance for hormonally-active freshmen to drink, bust a move, and generally make merry. Freshmen everyday have many chances to interact on Old Campus with — more freshmen.

I don’t mean to insinuate that freshmen here fail to meet some sort of standard of coolness. I abhor condescension toward people my age who have countless exceptional abilities. However, college students span many ages, and this aspect of college is lost on freshmen sequestered on Old Campus.

The restriction of such a large chunk of the freshman population to one area not only limits our exposure to the Yale social scene as a whole, but it also provides few ways in which to shed our immaturity. Stepping into Calhoun on a weekend night depresses me. On display is a pathetic scene based solely on providing alcohol for newly independent, awkward and underage freshmen.

I don’t condemn partying and drinking, but the separation of freshmen on Old Campus creates a problem. If freshmen want to party and are anxious to take advantage of our spanking-new responsible personas, we should at least attend a real party. That is, one that does not revolve around standing in line to get beer without even talking to anyone else.

Rather than fabricating our own version of the upperclassman social life with puerile attempts to mimic it, we should participate in it ourselves. The moment we moved into our suites on campus we became full-fledged college students. So why are some of us forced to settle for less than full integration for a quarter of our college careers?

Old Campus ostracizes and singles out freshmen. It can function more as a museum for public display than as a protective, fenced-in space. When I walk through Old Campus, I sometimes expect to hear comments like, “Oh, look at all the cute freshmen in their cute freshmen dorms!”

Condescension from other students is undesirable. We belong here just as much as the upperclassmen do, and we should not be differentiated by housing. We have enough difficulty as it is overcoming our lack of experience and savoir faire.

Yale fails to provide a freshman experience significantly different from the frustrating years of high school. This University has an edge over other schools in its ability to bring people of all cultures, backgrounds and ages together to coexist in an intellectual and social atmosphere.

But that potential goes somewhat to waste for an entire year as freshmen become acclimated to some of the banalities of college life without being able to take full advantage of the diversity in Yale’s student body.

Confining frosh in a penitentiary of sorts does have its benefits. It serves as a buffer for newbies concerned about the transition into college. It also provides a convenient method of finding a niche and forming one’s new Yale personality. But every time I pass through Old Campus, I am relieved to know that I am not forced to live there.

Unlike the seven colleges which exile their newcomers to Old Campus, Silliman — my college — and Timothy Dwight fully integrate freshmen into college life.

I interact on a daily basis with students without knowing their age. That is the beauty of integration. One can begin to realize that since we are all in the same place, age simply does not matter.



Lauren Krywanczy is a freshman in Silliman College. She does not live on Old Campus.

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