Senior Danny Schmitz reflects on responses from the ‘Thoughts from the Bubble’ video series.
Danny Schmitz | The Clarion
I work for the Clarion on the multimedia team, and one of the first things we did was create a “Thoughts From the Bubble” video. In our most recent video, we asked freshmen what advice they would give advice to upperclassmen. The project was intended to be a funny way to goad freshmen into acting uncomfortable in front of a camera.
After multiple conversations with nervous and very uncomfortable freshmen, we heard something we never expected. These people are crying for help. Sure, a lot of them asked us to stop honking and let them go to bed, but the majority of students mentioned how appreciated they felt during Welcome Week, and how they didn’t want that to go away. We heard a lot of people genuinely asking for help. They are intimidated. They are scared. They want to fit in. They don’t want to look like freshmen. They don’t want to be second-class students. They want a friend.
As I talked with freshmen I realized something: I am also a freshman. I have my own insecurities, my own fears, my own longing for friendships and my own loneliness. I can’t do this college thing on my own. Nobody can. The freshmen were very honest in their fears and apprehensions. The only difference between me and them is four years of learning how to mask those very same fears. I, too, go home and sit in an empty dorm room at night. I, too, am overwhelmed by the number of faces I don’t know. I, too, worry whether I will be able to succeed in my classes. Upperclassmen have it easier because they have pre-existing relationships, they have people to help them through. Freshmen don’t have that yet.
So this is a call to action for all the upperclassmen. Stop honking and yelling “go to bed freshmen!” Nothing about that feels good. But it’s more than that- it’s stepping out on a limb. If you see someone clearly lost on their phone, lend a helping hand. If you see someone alone in the DC, sit next to them. If there are freshmen in your classes, talk to them, study with them, be a friend to them, remember their name, listen to them, don’t belittle their problems. Make them feel that they matter. There is an unbelievable opportunity to love people in wonderful ways, so don’t waste it. Step out of your comfort zone to make space for those who don’t have one. Together we can be friends, together we can calm fears, together we can succeed and together we can make a difference.