Colleges, especially ones deemed “liberal”, have started a trend of renaming “freshmen” to “first-years”. They always give some vague reasons about how “first-year isn’t reinforcing the patriarchy” or “freshman uses the word fresh which is copyrighted by Subway”. And, frankly, I think this shift is ruining the college vernacular. For example, it’s no longer the “freshman forty”; it’s now the “first-year forty”. Furthermore, I believe that freshman is a more progressive term than first-year, and using the classic 5-paragraph English essay style I learned as a high school freshman, I will explain.
Topic sentence 1: Freshman is more progressive since the term denotes an actual person. Yes, I know it is a gendered “man” that is implied, but what the heck is a first-year? Sounds like a corporate buzzword rather than a person to me.
Moving right along without any transitions, because that’s how progressive I am. Topic sentence #2: the term first-year is literally stuck in the past. It refers to either 1 B.C. or 1 A.D, plain and simple. But with freshmen, every crop of them is fresh, as in new or exciting. You want to use an exclamation mark after “freshman”! First-year deserves ellipses…
Finally, no matter what Skidmore or other liberal arts colleges say, as long as high schools use the term “freshman”, it’s going to be impossible to fix. And since high school teaches younger people, it is more emblematic of the future and therefore more progressive than a liberal arts college.
In conclusion, my thesis that “freshman” is more progressive than “first-year” is correct. Now please allow me to pass the state tests so I can move up with to the sophomore class like I should be.