You’ve heard of the Freshman Fifteen, but I’d like to introduce you to the latest oddity sweeping college campuses all across the United States and the rest of the world. I present the Freshman Phenomenon. Now, I’ve done little to no research behind this topic, but I don’t anticipate that I ever will. So here’s what I have.
The Freshman Phenomenon is a social and academic condition that afflicts all first years and new transfer students. The symptoms include the inability to share opinions or answers in class, a fundamental feeling that the afflicted is of less importance or knowledge than those around him or her, and distress when being given the opportunity to introduce yourself to others. This phenomenon can manifest itself in the classrooms as well as in dorm rooms, and it can affect both introverts and extroverts. Students who once led conversation have resigned themselves to watching discussion or debate from the sidelines. They may wish to offer insight into conversation, but despite having copious thoughts and knowing the correct answers, they are paralyzed by the fear associated with being in a new situation.
If you or someone you love is afflicted by the Freshman Phenomenon do not worry, there is help. Overcoming the fear is not easy, but it is necessary for a successful college career. Those afflicted should try speaking out in slow increments, such as once day. Initially, it will seem impossible to overcome the fear of speaking or being incorrect, but the more the patient pushes himself or herself the more they will become comfortable with the situation. Another method that helps is to pretend that everyone else in the room is as scared as you are. Most likely, they are. In the end, the best solution is to remember that you earned your position in that class. You are part of the class, no longer a mere observer.
Good luck to all of the first years out there attempting to overcome the Phenomenon. I’m right there with you.