In the most anticipated event of the fall, Caltech freshmen finally became sophomores this past Saturday at 5 pm. “I’ve been a frosh for so long, and I made so many memories as a frosh. I wasn’t even sure that I’d get to this point. It’s an honor, really,” said Alexi Kogan, Lloyd ’18. Following campus tradition, Caltech freshmen remain freshmen much longer than first-year students at most university campuses; in fact, they remain freshmen until the fall of their second year, when new students arrive on campus and are placed into their houses. Incoming students are considered “prefrosh” (short for pre-freshmen) from the time of their admittance until they are placed into houses. In her address to the anxious prefrosh and even more anxious second-year freshmen, Catherine Jamshidi, IHC Chair and ASCIT Vice-President of Non-Academic Affairs, said, “To the prefrosh: when this cannon fires, you will have a house, which is good but really not a big deal. To the freshmen: Congratulations! With this giant leap, you have achieved the greatness of the sophomore. Godspeed!”
“It’s always an honor to welcome a new sophomore class to campus,” said Lauren Mariner, Dean of Undergraduate Students. “It’s so exciting to see what they’ll do with their third-to-least year at the Institute.” Upperclassmen concurred with the pivotal nature of the annual transition from freshmen to sophomore year. “There’s such a contrast between freshmen and sophomore years. It’s probably the biggest transition the frosh have faced in years,” said Martin Giles, Head Upperclass Counselor for Blacker House.
As usual, the transitional event is not without criticism. Many administrators have noticed the immense challenge in the transition from freshman to sophomore and have proposed mechanisms to reduce the stress placed on students as they make the leap. Proposals have included moving sophomore requirements to junior year, introducing additional on-campus residential staff targeted specifically at sophomores, and building a new residence for “all-s’more housing” to prevent the transmission of bad study habits from the classes above the impressionable sophomores. Many Caltech seniors, who have seen the event for the fourth time, also expressed skepticism. “At this point, all of the other classes just kind of blend together,” said Maria Gonzalez, Dabney ’16. Her friend, Theo Litvik, Page ’16, added “you’re all frosh to me, frosh.” Other seniors ran away from a Torch reporter, screaming “go to bed, frosh!” when pressed for comments. “This is an ongoing conversation,” added Dean Mariner, reminding the campus that ideas should be submitted to The California Torch at firstname.lastname@example.org.