Freshmen in low spirits

Only uncertainty stopping class of 2020 from participating in spirit days

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Freshmen in low spirits

Jiyong Shim, Carolyn Shan, Anoushka Tambay and Sophie Chen, freshmen, get ready for brunchtime cheer-offs during Homecoming Week.

Jiyong Shim, Carolyn Shan, Anoushka Tambay and Sophie Chen, freshmen, get ready for brunchtime cheer-offs during Homecoming Week.

Photo by Aishwarya Jayadeep

Jiyong Shim, Carolyn Shan, Anoushka Tambay and Sophie Chen, freshmen, get ready for brunchtime cheer-offs during Homecoming Week.

Photo by Aishwarya Jayadeep

Photo by Aishwarya Jayadeep

Jiyong Shim, Carolyn Shan, Anoushka Tambay and Sophie Chen, freshmen, get ready for brunchtime cheer-offs during Homecoming Week.

By Aishwarya Jayadeep

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At rallies or during Homecoming Week, the words “freshmen naturally don’t have a lot of spirit” are often tossed around and accepted as fact.

The dearth of freshman spirit, freshman Kay Picson said, comes from a fear of being judged and lack of enthusiasm about a school that is so new to them.

“I guess we’ll probably be more spirited after a while. We’re just getting used to [the school],” Picson said.

Fatima Al Tuwarish, also a freshman, agreed. At this point in time when freshmen are so new, Al Tuwarish said, they are worried about being “in the eye of the crowd.”

After all, freshman Sarah Li added, students are concerned about standing out or appearing “weird”.

“[The reason is] self consciousness,” Li said.

What makes rallies and spirit days so unique – the crush of people in green and white squeezing into the gym to cheer for their class – can also detract from how much certain students, such as people who are claustrophobic, enjoy them, biology teacher Sukhraj Sohal said.

“Some people don’t find dressing up or yelling [at rallies] exciting,” Sohal said. “Rallies aren’t for everybody.”

This is not to say freshmen don’t enjoy spirit days or rallies at all. Li said that despite her initial misgivings, she was “really into Homecoming,” since it offered a chance do things not possible on regular school days.

“On [non-spirit] days, you wouldn’t be able to dress up because you’d be judged,” Li said.

Older students recall feeling the same uncertainty and concern about judgment when they were freshmen.

“From what I see, [freshmen are] like what [sophomores] were last year,” sophomore Ellie Choi said.

Nevertheless, they encourage freshmen to try participating because of what they can gain from it.

“The satisfaction of seeing people have fun and being happy …  it makes me happy,” junior Winston Ooi said.

Some say that the sense of unity school spirit creates can take one’s mind off worries.

“With all the chaos and stress of school and participating in extracurriculars, I think school spirit is definitely necessary,” sophomore Leigh Apotheker said.

However, when the fear of standing out combines with the preexisting lack of freshmen participating in spirit days, it leads to a seemingly endless loop of unenthusiastic freshmen.

“Even the spirited [freshmen] are not as spirited because no one else is being spirited,” Picson said.

Sohal compared freshman participation to how fashion trends become popular. People start unsure whether it is “cool” to join in, but gradually warm to it as they see others having fun as well.

“The more people get on board, the more it attracts people,” Sohal said.

Freshmen alone are, of course, not at fault if they do not want to participate.  Teachers and students concur that are certainly areas for everyone to improve in to make spirit days more engaging.

“When [freshmen] see teachers getting involved and more students getting involved … there is an increase in participation,” Sohal said.

Picson echoed the idea that others should set an example. 

“The leadership [students] should be even more spirited,” Picson said.

Ultimately, however, it is down to the freshmen themselves to recognize the benefits of showing their school spirit.

“Participate, dammit!” Ooi said. “You won’t regret it.”

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