Freshman vs. senior year: The meme debunked


Graphic by Prameela Kottapalli. Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A meme created by Prameela Kotapalli (10). The tagging and creation of memes has spread to many Harker students through social media sites.

by Prameela Kottapalli, Asst. Features Editor

Freshman year to senior year. It may be only three years, but those 36 months bring about a world of changes, milestones and challenges, from sweet sixteens to SAT’s.

One of the primary differences between these two landmarks in one’s high school career is the personal transformation, the metamorphosis from an optimistic freshman caterpillar to a blossoming senior butterfly.

With the start of the new school year, the internet is swarming with the annual surge of school-related memes. Near the top of the list is the “freshman year versus senior year” text-post, which represents seniors as significantly more stylish and mature than their freshman counterparts.

The most popular type of this meme relates to outward appearances. These versions usually use figures from pop culture, such as celebrities and cartoons, to convey a message that an unbridgeable gap lies between ninth and 12th graders in terms of their clothing and style.

To explore the roots of this pop-culture trend, I conducted a social experiment in which I interviewed members from both the class of 2017 and the class of 2020 about what they wear everyday. All along, the question in my head was clear: are the clothing choices of freshmen and seniors truly based upon that three-year gap?





“I’m wearing red joggers and a blue Los Angeles shirt. I’m wearing grey Nike shoes. Like most guys in my grade, I usually wear joggers or jeans, and most of the time I’ll wear a T-shirt and a jacket. I’d rather be comfortable than look good. I just take what I find and I wear it, that’s my life, my style.”

Ronit Gagneja (9)









“I’m wearing a T-shirt that’s casual with a lot of color. I’m someone who loves color. I have three different floral shirts at home and I love coming to school in floral shirts. I always wear jeans, they’re the most comfortable things. All guys wear jeans‒ if I could use an analogy, leggings are to women as jeans are to guys. My style… I wear the same shoes everyday, and I have the jeans and I have color- that’s what my style is.”

Chris Hailey (12)








“I’m wearing a dark green lace top from Forever 21 and jeans from Garage. I got these shoes on sale from J.C. Penney. I like florals and lace a lot, and a lot of my clothes are light and pastel-y or really dark colors‒ I’m on the two extremes of the spectrum. I’ve been trying to be more experimental and not follow what everyone else is wearing. It may sound cliche, but to me, it’s better to stand out.”

Mahika Halepete (9)










“I’m wearing a Northwestern [University] sweatshirt with jeans and an Israel T-shirt underneath. Also I’m wearing fake Birkenstock shoes. My style is casual and comfortable, and it hasn’t changed since freshman year. I don’t like copying people. I have my own style, and I do what I want.”

Shreya Neogi (12)






The conclusion is evident: the text-post may be amusing, but like most internet trends, it’s no more than a meme. High school is full of seniors who dress to impress and seniors who prefer a T-shirt and jeans, as well as freshmen who wish to stand out with flair and freshmen who prize comfort in what they wear.

A lot can change in three years. Sure, some of this change can be expressed in looks: a shift in fashion sense, the swapping of glasses for contact lenses, a new haircut. But maybe the real glo-up isn’t based upon how people’s clothes or appearances change, but because of how they grow up as a human being. After all, at the end of the day, clothes are just one of the many means by which we express ourselves.