Freshman Year 101


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Wow, great blog prompt. Big ups to the previous blog council for coming up with this! On a serious note, this is quite an important topic and the decisions made now will affect the direction this school goes in the future. When the Campus Climate report first came out in 2011, there were fierce reactions from students, faculty, and alumni. Let’s start with the alumni reaction as their opinions arguably matter the most due to their potential to give back to the school.

When the report was published, I remember going on Facebook or some other social media site where the report was published. Following the report was a 6 page long thread of Bucknell alum commenting on the report and offering their stances. The way I saw it, there were two camps. One group saw the report as something that was addressing an issue that has existed since the inception of Bucknell. In essence, nothing has changed to warrant such a report; it’s always been this way at any college. On the other side, you had people that were outraged at how the campus had supposedly taken a turn for the worst. Now, as a student here for a another month or so, I can confidently say that there are many things wrong with this campus. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved every minute of my time here. However, sometimes I wonder if I have loved my time here because I am at Bucknell or because I am simply in college…

I have read many posts so far supporting the Greek system and highlighting the positives it has on students and the University as a whole. However, it has some major flaws the way it is currently structured. Before going into my experience with Greek Life, let me begin by saying my favorite year by far at Bucknell was freshmen year. I met so many new people and had the time of my life. There were so many opportunities to meet new people which I feel don’t exist anymore outside the first couple weeks of rush. Between First Night, Orientation, and hall events, I truly felt like I belonged to a community. The best thing about my freshmen experience was that there was no social ladder or social hierarchy. There were no Greek affiliations. Rather, you were grouped by what dorm you lived in or what hall you were on. No one was pre-judged. More importantly, everyone was a Bucknellian; we were all in it together. Fast-forward to sophomore year. Nearly everyone rushes. Students are placed in different social groups. This has two effects. One, the students in the same social groups form a unique bond with each other. And two, the different groups distance themselves from one another. There is no link between the varying social groups. Not exactly the same recipe for community and unity that we had freshmen year. 

I really think that establishing the class unity and the pride in being a Bucknellian that existed freshmen year is key to solving some of the problems highlighted in the report. It  needs to be present during all 4 years. Excessive drinking, sexual assault, lack of involvement in campus life…I feel these issues would be improved if students looked out for one another like they were family, like it was when everyone was a Bucknellian that first year here. As seniors now, there are attempts to rekindle the closeness our class had freshmen year. But what about the years in between? 

I really think this school can be improved without eradicating the Greek system completely. The challenge in the coming years will be finding a balance. For the record, I did go Greek and loved it. But I loved the class bonding and and lack of social hierarchy from freshmen year much, much more. 

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10 thoughts on “Freshman Year 101

  1. Great post Kelly. I also did love the social relationships freshman year. I believe the solution to bring that back would be not to eradicate the Greek system, but to provide more activities on campus. This would give people a chance to meet people that are not just in their fraternities and sororities. RA’s could maybe even put on a “freshman hall night” event?

    • Yah I agree with you here. I loved freshman year, but I also love being in a sorority. I think there are other solutions that could fix this problem like providing more alternatives or having more, smaller greek organizations.

  2. I think one of the most disappointing things to see on this campus is the transition from freshman year when friend groups were made up of people so different from each other with different experiences to upperclassmen that stick in almost homogenous groups of people that do the same thing, act the same way, and have really lost their individuality over the years conforming to Bucknell’s social system.

  3. On such a big campus (3500 is a lot of people), I think you want lots of communities and sub-communities. Kind of reminds me of Walzer and spheres. Greek life can “monopolize” some areas, but it is too dominant.

  4. “I wonder if I have loved my time here because I am at Bucknell or because I am simply in college…” – Genius.

  5. Love this post Kelly! As a woman, I had a slightly different experience freshman year. Although there were no organized sororities at that time, I found that Bucknell freshmen girls tended to forms cliques that they “thought” would get them into a supposedly good sorority. I didn’t belong to one of these cliques, and felt very isolated. Greek life saved me and I am so thankful for my sorority! Go DG ❤

  6. I really enjoyed reading this post! I definitely agree with lots of things that you commented on. “As seniors now, there are attempts to rekindle the closeness our class had freshmen year. But what about the years in between?” –this is something I have thought about a lot–I felt a strong sense of community during Freshman year that I haven’t really felt again until this year. I think as seniors at Bucknell, we have began to realize the things we have wanted all along and are trying to take this last chance to find them again. SO CHEEERS TO THE LAST FEW WEEKS AND LIVE IT UP, safely.

    GRADUATION-VITAMIN C…

    YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US!

  7. Pingback: For the Record… | Torching the Mundane

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