Opening Weekend: How to Identify Each Student On Campus

Back at it in and full swing, opening weekend on campus did not disappoint.

Whether your a hopeful freshman dressing to the nines to experience your first taste of college life, or an upperclassman coming back to soak in what is left of your college career, there was fun to be had in the first weekend back.

As thousands of students flood onto campus last weekend, it is hard not to get excited about the upcoming year. Kids are getting dropped off for their first year, old friends are getting back together, greek life is back and of course… classes still haven’t started. What is not to like here?

It is this mindset that most every student was in this weekend. The summer is over, your summer job is done and it was the last weekend of freedom before you have to dig into the books for the next four months (or at least a couple days a week). Needless to say, there was a lot going on in the week here on campus.

At a university such as Ohio State, where there are 40K+ students, there tends not to be much segregation between age groups. Everybody has friends of different ages and knows older and younger students through various organizations and things of that nature. But, during the first weekend out on the town, your age tends to shine bright…


Lets start with the youngbloods… the freshman. Now, I’m really in no position to be calling these guys youngbloods being just a sophomore in all, but they are the lowest in the ranks so I don’t really care. The freshman are always the easiest to pull out of a crowd. Everybody has been a freshman at some point and you all know what I mean. They simply have a very unexperienced look about them.

freshman-failsThere is no style that is “the right way” to dress and there is no wrong way to dress either, but many freshman do dress the same way. They most likely are wearing nice button-down shirts, jeans, and then gym shoes. Either that, or they are wearing gym shorts, high socks and basketball shoes looking like they’re about to head to workout. For girls, it is a little bit harder to tell just by appearance, but the next hint gives it away. Again, there’s nothing wrong with any style, but you just tend to see mostly freshman rocking these ones around.

The dead giveaway for freshman is how they travel… in flocks. Most likely, these people are trying to meet new friends so they will try and go out with floormates, dormmates, and friends of friends. They figure that out of their large group, somebody will know of somewhere to go where they can get in so they all walk together. They’re the newest bunch, so you have to give them a break for trying to meet new people at a school where they might not know anybody. Either way, it is a dead giveaway and I was guilty of it myself just a year ago. Oh well.


On to the next bunch, the sophs. So this is where I fit in. Its hard to tell if there is an obvious way to point myself and my fellow sophomores out because we are in the process. As freshman, we knew that it was easy to tell how old we were by the size of the groups we went out with. You learn pretty quick to accept getting called freshman and move on. But as sophs, there is a different way to get pointed out: The obvious desire to have people visit your new living space.

john-belushi-college-obama-posterAs freshman, you’re all required to live in the dorms unless you commute. So you make friends with people you live with, people in other dorms, and get used to where they live. Many times, you also are very constricted in your dorm area and can’t wait to move off-campus for more space and more freedom. That freedom is how you can tell whose a sophomore.

You are always inviting people to come check out your new crib and you just want to take advantage of not having an RA or Hall Director to stop you from doing things. Now, like I said before, I’m not sure how easy it is for other people to tell what age my roommates and I are, but the people in our apartment complex surely can figure out this is our first place.

Probably annoyed by the loud music, excess of visitors and overall inexperience to living in an apartment, the other residents are most likely not huge fans of ours so far. One way or another, I will bet that when I look back on my old self next year, it will be easy to tell what stands out.


The juniors are probably the hardest group to figure out. They are in the awkward stage of not all being “legal”, but probably on the verge. By your junior year, you are more inclined to have a house with a bunch of friends as opposed to just an apartment. But, the old “legality” issue comes into play a lot more. Some of your friends might be heading to the bars while some might not be able to yet. Some people might be able to have a few drinks on the lawn but some might have to be careful of doing so. It is a hard age to figure out as an observer. There is no obvious giveaway and no way to easily pick them out of a crowd. Juniors, hats off to you for making yourself invisible to the public eye.


Now onto the top dogs. If you’re a senior in college that probably means that you’re either 21, 22, or even 23 years old.

Now, it doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out the difference between an 18 year old and a 22 year old. When somebody is a senior, you can usually tell just by looking at them. They’ve got a more experienced look than any other age group and never really look out of place. But, there are also other ways to tell not by appearance.

One of the signs is that they are in a house and are always outside, on the roof, or on the deck. You may think that any sophomore can be hanging out, drinking on the lawn of their house but that’s not the case.

Maybe this is true just of Ohio State, but at many of the colleges that I have been to or heard of, there are a significant amount of undercover cops and people know about them. If you’re underage, it is likely that you probably aren’t going to be so relaxed about doing something illegal in a place where you’re prone to get in trouble. The seniors, though, have nothing to worry about. That is why you will see them out more often than not.

The other way to tell people are seniors is by who you see going into certain bars. Being on campus, you get an idea of which bars are “older” bars and which are known for “younger” students (I’ll leave it at that). Knowing that information, you can tell whose older just by where they are at.

Just like anywhere, Seniors tend to have the feeling that they own the school, and walk around like it. Easy to see, easy to pick out of a crowd.

Final Word

The first weekend at school is always a great time. There truly is not any age segregating going on at many schools and that is part of the reason college is great. Although that is the case, I found it funny how students wear their colors bright on the opening weekend of the school year. It may not be as noticeable as I put it, but each age has got their own stamp on it.


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