Howdy, past-self. Wow, I've forgotten what I looked like without eye bags, please take care of yourself! I know that you won't, but it still feels important to address my younger self in this modern, self-care fashion.

Let's face it, your freshman year of college is daunting.

Even though you stupidly prided yourself on being independent in high school, nothing actually prepared you for departing from your buddies and parents and everything you cultivated for yourself in your adolescence.

So, you've decided to go off to college alone, jumping in headfirst. I applaud you for that. It was challenging and left nasty bruises, but growing pains mean development in your epic narrative.

Presently, I am an old, jaded sophomore and there's nothing more I desire to do than go back in time and give my freshman year self something to which to look forward; namely, sophomore year. Next year, little-Riley! Here are nineteen ways that sophomore year is superior.

1. It’s the victory lap of your teenage years.

Riley Farrell

2. You don’t have to fully fret and ruminate over your career and post-graduation life.

Riley Farrell

But I know you'll worry a little and that's healthy.

3. Hopefully, you aren’t completely submerged in upper-level courses yet. 

4. Sophomore year is the time to study abroad or plan to study abroad!

Riley Farrell

5. You’re not a freshman anymore, praise the Lord above. 

All the crippling anxiety and uncertainness about every new part of your lifestyle and surroundings have melted away because you have an entire year of familiarity under your belt!

6. You aren’t a junior yet, when the sudden realization of having to get your act together hits you like a mid-life crisis.

7. You aren’t a senior yet, when you feel the bittersweet stinging of leaving your first home away from home. 

8. Sophomores can relate to those in high school and those who are older. 

Riley Farrell

Right in that sweet spot.

9. The emerging confidence of adulthood gives color to your face and a pep in your step.

A part-time job and getting groceries? A dog? The tattoo that you have always wanted? My oh my, you're growing up.

10. The literal word “sophomore” has the most hilarious origin of all the grade names. 

Take your mind back to high school when you talked about rhetoric and Socrates. Sophomore comes from "sophism", which connotes a clever but fallacious argumentative style. We, the second-year students, then are pretentious in academia but not wise enough to actually be right about anything. This suggestion is fair.

11. You undeniably enjoy your niche classes and hip professors.

12. You’re being exposed to new worldviews constantly, but sophomore year, you don’t absorb every new, shiny opinion as Gospel.

You can engage in a dialogue while remaining firm in your beliefs.

13. Activities are still thrilling! 

Riley Farrell

Date parties are not lame yet! Voting is special! Jury duty sounds so alluringly official.

14. You know where your classes are and are not intimidated by all the edifices on your giant, ugly campus swallowing you whole.

I remember having an hour between my classes my first semester and I would spend all of it just wandering around trying to find the correct rust-colored building – true lost puppy status. Now that you're a sophomore, you're not completely clueless and you also don't pull the whole awkwardly-arriving-in-the-classroom-twenty-minutes-early-because-you're-terrified-of-being-late that we have all pulled.

15. You know how to live with a roommate.

Excessively close proximity with an unfamiliar human? Bring it on.

16. Your "new college pals" are now just your good pals.

Riley Farrell

Freshman year you did not know anyone and now, with the effort of last year, you have your ever-expanding group of people.

17. Perhaps, you don’t have to live in a dorm anymore!

18. Freshman year you were forced to have “fun” with ice-breakers ad-nauseum or gross frat parties. 

Riley Farrell

There is none of that sophomore year.

19. You sort of know yourself now.

Riley Farrell

Of course, humans constantly change so it is difficult to say that there's a definite "yourself". That said, the way you respond in situations has been tested and you have reaped the results. College helps you know yourself, or rather, who you aspire to be, independent of childhood influences. A step closer to finding your rightful space in the world.