Several weeks ago, the College of Wooster opened it doors to the Class of 2014, an unexpectedly large class composed of over 600 students. Ever since the chaos of their “Moove-In” Day, their presence has definitely been felt on campus.† They’ve been welcomed into our athletic teams, our music groups, and other extracurricular activities. We’ve shared classes with them, sat with them in Lowry, and seen them dancing the night away at the UG.

However, although I think that most upperclassmen have welcomed the first-years as individuals, as a collective group, it seems that the they are being held responsible for any little inconvenience on campus. The student body has named the Class of 2014 the official College of Wooster scapegoat.

Can’t find a seat in Lowry? Blame the first-years. Crowded classroom? Blame the first-years. No available computers at the Wired Scot? Blame the first-years. Long line at Mom’s? Blame the first-years. Old Main is out of cheesecake? Blame the first-years.

I’ve heard that litany of complaints time and time again since the school year started, and I think it’s time to say enough is enough. While I understand that we all enjoy having a scapegoat for our frustrations, upperclassmen need to stop this negative attitude.

The first-years are here because, just like all of us, their applications proved that they deserve to be here; they are worthy of being College of Wooster students, and we’re lucky to have them. Every year, Wooster receives applications from more impressive applicants, and the first-years are a part of this group.

On top of that, isn’t it exciting that such a large number of students want to come to Wooster? It seems Wooster is finally getting the attention it definitely deserves. We all love Wooster and appreciate what it has to offer, and we have this feeling in common with the first-years. The Class of 2014 is a diverse class filled with talented athletes, musicians, scholars, and more, so let’s give them the credit they deserve.

On a more practical note, look at some of the advantages the extra amount of students on campus has brought to all of us upperclassmen. Instead of just Lowry or Old Main for lunch, our lunch options have expanded to include Kittredge, now stocked with more delicious vegetarian and organic fare, the Sub Stop, and the now infamous Scot Dogs stand. Because of the first-years, we all have so many more choices.

Furthermore, I’m sure that all of those extra tuition dollars won’t hurt our experience this year either.

And, let’s face it, Lowry has always been crowded chaos at noon, Mom’s is always a busy mess on Friday and Saturday nights, and the cheesecake at Old Main will always be a popular item. No amount of first-years is going to change any of this. The so called “problems” they’ve created were here long before they unpacked their suitcases.

So, next time you see first-years, make an effort to see them as they really are, not a member of a collective scapegoat group, but as a student just like you. Take a moment, stop, look them in the eye, and say, “Welcome to Wooster.”