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How to Tell the Difference Between Upperclassmen and Freshmen in the First Week of School

When they go to class the first week…
Upperclassmen wear normal clothes.
Freshmen dress up.

When they don’t know where a building is…
Upperclassmen wander around confidently.
Freshmen pull out their handy-dandy maps.

When it’s time to buy textbooks…
Upperclassmen save money by buying them online. (This is how.)
Freshmen sell their souls to the campus bookstore.

When it’s time to study…
Upperclassmen skim the readings.
Freshmen try to read every word assigned.

When it’s time to walk to the communal shower…
Upperclassmen seem to carry nothing.
Freshmen carry full shower totes.

When they look through their closets…
Upperclassmen have college clothes related to clubs they’re part of or events they’ve attended.
Freshmen have generic college sweatshirts, “senior” shirts from high school, and the always-visible college lanyard.

When it’s time for nightlife…
Upperclassmen are fine with hanging out at a friend’s place.
Freshmen feel the need to explore the city or get into a party.

When it’s time for the parties…
Upperclassmen have all the connections already, as well as access to bars and clubs.
Freshmen are eternally searching for trashy frat houses that will admit anyone.

When it’s time to get from point A to point B…
Upperclassmen travel alone or with one or two friends.
Freshmen travel in packs of 10. Maybe 20. Sometimes 30 if they’re real kinky.

When it comes to dating…
Upperclassmen look for stable relationships, often from people already in their social network.
Freshmen look for hooking up and “whatever they can get.”

When it comes to socializing…
Upperclassmen meet new people through their long-time friends.
Freshmen are not afraid of meeting new people in the elevator.

When they meet someone new…
Upperclassmen ask “You look familiar. You were in one of my classes last semester, right?”
Freshmen ask “Hey!! Aren’t we friends on Facebook?!?”

When they say good-bye to strangers…
Upperclassmen say “See ya around.”
Freshmen say “What’s your last name? I’ll find ya on Facebook!”

When they see someone they know…
Upperclassmen ask “How was your summer?”
Freshmen ask “What was your name again?”

When it’s time to talk to their parents…
Upperclassmen call home at the end of every week.
Freshmen receive calls from home at the end of every day.

When it’s time to talk about post-graduation plans…
Upperclassmen become clueless and scared—and secretly wish they could do the whole college thing all over again.
Freshmen think that graduation is a long time away.

Cherish your short time in college!

– by Nathan Chow
Boston University Class of 2009

Nathan Chow is a graduate of Boston University's College of Communication. As a leadership and career coach who helps millennials land their dream job, he helps them 1) figure out their strengths and purpose, 2) edit their cover letters and resumes, and 3) negotiate higher pay with confidence. Nathan's mission is to minimize people's stress and anxiety and lead them to happier lives. One client's pay multiplied by 1.5x after two hours with Nathan. Another received $4000 more after 15 minutes working with Nathan. Check out and subscribe to the free newsletter. In his free time, Nathan loves to read, write, dine out, eat ethnic food, run, salsa dance, play soccer, take photos, juggle, joke, laugh, and meet new people---but certainly not all at the same time. Nathan reads and responds to all email.


Comment from L. Alvarez
Time September 23, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Laughed all the way to my nearest college campus. Thank you for bringing a smile to every college student in America.

Comment from Kelly
Time September 23, 2008 at 6:11 pm

This is soooooo true!!! I’d like to hear a freshman’s take on it, but as an upperclassman I definitely agree with all of the above statements.

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