While turning another year older is often said to come with more wisdom, this is only partly true for the transition from freshman year of college to sophomore year of college.
Beginning college is one of the most overwhelming, scary and helpless feelings freshmen will experience in their young adult life. It usually entails moving to a town hours away where you know practically no one, living an independent adult-like life, and being expected to find your “place” all while trying not to fail out of the hardest classes you never knew existed.
The start of sophomore year, however, is filled with excitement, high expectations, and maybe even a few tears of joy because you’re returning to the university where you did, in fact, find your “place.” A place where you’ll attempt to have a year that is even better than your first one.
From freshman year to sophomore year, classes get harder, friends get better and you even change drastically yourself. While it’s hard to say just how each person’s second year of college will differ from their first, one thing is for sure: It will be very different, but almost certainly in the best way possible.
When it comes to classes, homework and school itself, being older sophomore year than freshman year does equal being wiser… but not in the way you’d think. Remember how you’d make it to every 9:35 am class of Theater Appreciation your freshman year? Well as a sophomore, you’ve learned that these are the classes you can sleep through with (few) repercussions. Although this may not be the most admirable thing, sophomores will always know when it’s time to actually be a real student and when it’s time to get an extra hour (or two of sleep).
Think you were a good procrastinator in high school and freshman year? Well, get ready to level up on the professional procrastinator scale. Even though classes get noticeably harder, sophomores also get noticeably better at putting off all work until the last possible minute. Call it confidence or stupidity, but surviving one year of college makes the massive workload seem not nearly as terrifying. No matter if it’s a 10-page research paper or an unstudied for final exam, sophomores will thrive under a time crunch whereas freshman will crack under pressure. And if all else fails, all-nighters exist and will become a procrastinating sophomore’s best friend.
One of the greatest differences between my freshman and sophomore year would have to be my friends. At the start of the first year of college, most people tend to latch on to the first “friend” they make. This might be a roommate or lab partner, but the thought of just having someone (no matter how well you actually get along with him or her) in this insane new experience is what most new freshmen look for.
By the time sophomore year starts though, students will find the friends that they can actually call their “people.” Meeting a lot of people, hanging out with randoms and then deciding who to actually keep around is just a part of college, and sophomores shouldn’t be worried about cutting those out of their life who were never really their true friends but rather just security blankets. Friend groups may even dwindle, but this should not be worrisome as it is completely normal as you move through the years of college, discover more about yourself and who you want to surround yourself with.
One aspect of growing older in college that most people don’t realize will happen is how much change and growth you experience as your own person. It seems like every year I look back and say, “Wow, I really am so different than I used to be, but now I am completely myself.” However, halfway through my second year of college, I finally realized something else: I am constantly growing and changing (especially in this environment) and I know that I have still not become the “final” version of myself.
Whether you believe it or not, high school is a place that doesn’t allow anyone to fully be themselves — almost everyone somewhat conforms to the crowd. And while this stigma mostly goes away upon entering college, freshmen year is still full of trying to impress strangers, trying to find a place where you belong, and actually discovering who you really are.
I can say with confidence that I am the most comfortable with myself right now that I have ever been. This is a result of being in the uncomfortable situation that is freshman year and furthermore, being forced to put myself out there and ultimately accept myself for exactly who I am in order to be happy in college.
So if you thought freshmen year was a good one, get ready for sophomore year. It will be full of extra laziness, amazing friends and self-acceptance.
Maybe change is a good thing, after all.