There is this sense that you can’t go back to the dorms once you’ve moved into upperclassmen housing.Perhaps it’s weird to go back to the dorms, but I remember it being far more terrifying to go to upperclassmen housing. The apartments loomed overhead, the houses were so removed I forgot they existed or who lived there and Kulp was a maze I was never inclined to figure out without a guide.
But it’s not just in our living situations that we aren’t connecting with underclassmen. Academically, we aren’t always the mentors we could be. There are always department meetings or picnics, but rarely is there advice or wisdom passed down or even basic interactions between the classes. Usually, inside jokes are made (I’m guilty of this) and no one remembers to tell younger students which classes are the most fun and in which ones you will never use the textbooks.
There is a clear gap between the group of first-years and sophomores, and the group of juniors and seniors. It’s been noted before that when upperclassmen come to the dorms it’s a treat, or at least a surprise. Why are we coming to the dorm events so rarely and interacting with students in the dorms so little that people are hyperaware of our presence?
I’m not saying we all need to go out and become best friends, but we’re missing out on relationships. We feel uncomfortable going to each other’s respective places of living and we don’t have conversations about majors or classes, when, truly, just because of experience, we do have some kind of advice to pass on.
The Apartments Community Council is trying to bring people closer in the apartments and bring people to the apartments, but what are the houses doing? What are individuals doing?
We need to pick up some slack in order to feel more comfortable with people in different classes. The parties hosted by Residence Life have free food and younger students, both great aspects of the event. There are events held by clubs in the dorms that we, as upperclassmen, could attend to meet younger students. If you are in a mostly-upperclassmen course and you’re sitting by an underclassman, offer some insight into the professor or how to study—don’t let them drown.
We’ve been here awhile; we know some ins and outs and we would do well to take the steps to close the gap between classes. At the very least, we look like we have more confidence, so use that and bridge the gap. Go to the dorms. Spread some advice. Underclassmen, we probably won’t bite, and we don’t go to the dorms too often because really we’re just scared Miller will catch on fire again. Ask us about that story.