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The Village Strikes Back
Nadia Jo '19 Staff Writer
December 9, 2015
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Valerie Ma
Valerie Ma

It’s finally here: a 9th grader’s perspective on The Freshman Village.

I didn’t know a single person before stepping foot on campus, and The Freshman Village has been incredibly helpful for me to form close friendships with other 9th graders. From roommates to Crowe Commons, my grade has bonded tremendously over just one term in Johnson-Doubleday. This dorm arrangement makes sense to me: why not create a positive environment to allow students, especially boys and girls, to interact within their class? By providing a strong foundation and helping students start off on the right foot, we can look forward to the next four years that will be our Deerfield experience.

It’s true that socializing with people in other grades is no longer as easy as simply going next door. But there are still plenty of opportunities—through clubs and co-curriculars—to meet students from other grades. Meeting the same people during co-curriculars at least five times a week naturally leads to conversations, and I made several friends in other grades before I knew it. I began sitting with them during walk-through meals, and they introduced me to other friends. Once I started hanging out with a few, it was easy to branch out and interact with more sophomores and upperclassmen.

Because my co-curricular was such a great place to meet new people, I was startled to hear about the conflicts in athletics cited in last month’s Scroll.

Upperclassmen have been extremely quick to make judgments about freshmen as team players. Yes, there have been reports that freshmen don’t always follow directions and understand school dynamics. But we should not assume that this is a result of the new dorm configuration. To determine if The Freshman Village is actually at fault, we have to look at how the class of 2020 and subsequent years act as freshmen.

The same goes for stories about freshmen being rude to Greer staff and not cleaning up after themselves. There are outliers in every group of people, whether they’re from the class of 2019 or 2016. A few isolated incidents shouldn’t serve as a generalization about the entire freshmen body.

When it comes to Crowe Commons, freshmen are criticized even further. Apparently, there’s a problem wherever I choose to hang out. If I’m in Crowe, I’m too isolated from the rest of the school. If I’m in the Greer, I’m not using the resources the administration has provided, like the flat screen TV. Upperclassmen express disapproval in both cases, which makes me wonder: are they unhappy about The Freshman Village, or are they upset about the freshmen as people?

Because freshmen and upperclassmen have repeatedly expressed eagerness to get to know one another, I am confident that we can overcome the misunderstandings of the past term and continue to form strong bonds. We are still Deerfield, a warm and vibrant community that has withstood more than 200 years of change. Together, we can enjoy every moment of our high school years, whether we are just starting our journey or leaving our mark  before graduating.