Opinion, Staff Editorial

Focus on positive growth in freshman year

The incoming freshman class of 2020 was selected with a 38-percent acceptance rate, continuing the trend of increasingly selective admission at UM. With a more competitive pool of applicants, one would assume that each year would bring a new batch of students who are a little more mature and levelheaded than previous freshmen.

But selectivity doesn’t always match up with behavior outside the classroom. Each fall, it seems that the wild and questionable freshman stories resurface. Cases of arson, drinking blackouts and hospital visits plague the freshman dorms.

Is UM admitting more daring students, or is deliberate recklessness characteristic of all freshmen classes, still testing the limits of their newfound freedom and alcohol tolerance? Moving to a campus and suddenly meeting hundreds of new peers, leaving the supervision of watchful parents and living in a city where party culture thrives can be an overwhelming combination. If a freshman didn’t already come in with a levelheaded sense of judgment, they probably won’t develop it during their first semester at college.

Maybe we’re being unfairly harsh on the freshmen. Are upperclassmen really any better, or are they just better at keeping their dirty laundry out of sight? After all, most upperclassmen live off campus, free from the supervision of RAs and the restrictions of residential dorm life. But let’s stay optimistic and chalk it up to maturation; in other words, there is hope for the first-years.

Of course, college is a time to have fun and try new experiences. Yet decisions should be made because they really do provide fun, memorable personal experiences, not just for the sake of being crazy or daring. Students should make reasonable judgments about risks and benefits and be confident enough to tell themselves, and others, when they’ve reached their limits. Getting caught up with blindly trying to create a new “college self” prevents real growth.

Many of the relationships that begin during freshman year, both personal and professional, plant the seeds for future opportunities. This sentiment is particularly important for the class of 2020, but it is also key for any student on the way to a post-graduate career. Some new experiences can be distracting and sometimes a bit overwhelming – stay focused and start off on the right foot.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

September 7, 2016

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