Soapbox: September 23rd, 2008

As a seasoned second-year, Seán McGovern has the vantage point to judge those arrogant, young blood Freshers...As the Academic year comes around once again, those returning to college breathe a heavy sigh of relief after the summer months of too much free time, no direction and substandard television.But spare a thought for all the nervous newbies who see college as their time of liberation, new experiences and the overwhelming joy of learning!Your thought however, must be a fleeting- once you realise the truth about our newly established co-eds.Walking through the concourse during Orientation Week with a friend, my initial feelings of charity and sympathy were overridden by a morose lurching in my stomach, the bile clambering up my throat.It became clear to me that these darling first years’ understanding of college was all they had learned from Van Wilder: Party Liaison. UCD was their time for misadventure, for the faux-affluent lifestyle they have braved those awkward teenage years for.So how do they represent these delusions of grandeur? Well to start off they say “let’s like, totally smoke, because we like so can”. I wish I was as cool as they are.You find yourself walking into them accidently like those invisable swarms of midges you don’t know you’re in until they’re in your nose, mouth and ears. Their chirps and laughter lingering loudly in their wake.They wander up and down the concourse, God forbid they go to a lecture. I must have clearly been watching all the wrong films, my understanding of college was all wrong.Oh I’m not going to say I despise first years. Yes, I was one only until recently and I loved the blissfully ignorant days when a GPA meant nothing to me. However, there’s a difference between first years and first years with attitude.I was just happy to be there, to find the friends who I could feel intellectually stimulated by while simultaneously talking absolute trash. In first year I missed what was coming up on an exam because my parasitic best friend and I left the lecture to go outside and gossip. But I had no attitude. I had delusions of grandeur, but at least I knew that. Note the difference.I’m not actually that bitter about the obnoxious first years. The novelty of it all will wear off once they sit in their tutorials realising that it does help if maybe you read at least the back of the novel.The reason I’m not bitter is because this is all transient. Let them be vacuous, let them waste their time and by all means let them have as much fun as they want. Consequences, what are they?After all there is an elite group they will all join very soon, a very exclusive and fashionable little posse. I think you know the one I’m talking about, the elusive gang known as the dropouts.