Freshman faces difficult realizations

As I was becoming more and more disillusioned with the University of Arizona, I felt that I needed to get back into the swing of things. I needed to talk to someone who was excited about school, someone who loved the UA and all of its traditions. I needed someone who thought registration was fun.

Basically, I needed a freshman.

I thought after talking to a member of the class of 1999 I would remember what drew me east to Tucson and to the UA. I thought that once I heard someone tell me how beautiful the campus is or how excited they are for fall, somehow their feelings would rub off onto me and carry me through my final year. I thought wrong.

I found who I thought was going to be the source of my inspiration in Ashley Clancy, 18, the cousin of a friend of mine who just so happened to be attending Freshman Orientation last week.

I asked Ashley to record her thoughts as she attended orientation events, and she politely indulged me.

At this point I should say, and this I know is not fair to Ashley, that I expected her thoughts to be something like, "Today I took my math placement test, it was so exciting to be in a college classroom taking my first test that I could hardly concentrate. Wow, am I excited or what?"

In actuality, the notes she wrote down regarding her placement test read a little differently: "My least favorite part of the day was taking the math readiness test. It was so difficult, especially having to take an hour-long test crammed in a desk with at least 100 other people in the room," she wrote.

Where is my inspiration, I wondered? Doesn't she know that she will likely have classes with five times that many students in probably even more uncomfortable desks? No, I reminded myself, she doesn't know that. How could she?

She is a freshman.

I realized that everyone hates tests so I moved on to her feelings about the campus.

"The campus is quite nice. It is well maintained, yet, with all of the big, tall, green trees it has lost its sense of originating in the desert," wrote Clancy.

Once again, I was expecting something to the effect of, "The fountain in front of Old Main is so beautiful. I can't wait till the day that I can sit on it, read a good book, and enjoy the babbling of the water."

I said I was disillusioned didn't I?

As I continued reading her notes I realized that I was not getting what I wanted. I wanted to read words like, "beautiful", "excited", "nervous" and "spirit", and what I got was, "cheesy" and "boring".

After reading all of Ashley's notes I realized that my selfish plan did not work. Ashley is an in-coming freshman who had to spend two days of her summer vacation touring a 105 degree campus, attending workshops (well, actually, she skipped the workshops) and taking placement tests on top of writing down her feelings about the whole experience. If I were a freshman, my notes would have read the same.

My plan was a failure in that I did not receive the inspiration I needed. But, by reading the true feelings that a freshman has about the UA, I realized that I am not as disillusioned as I thought I was.

I feel the same way as Ashley about many things regarding the UA, but we do disagree on one. I am glad for the big, tall, green trees.

Megan Steelman is a reporter for the Summer Wildcat and a journalism junior.

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