Freshman year is known as a major growth phase for students. But we are rarely warned about the perils of the second year which is arguably the most defining period in your college existence. Here's why.
During your first year, you got to be the baby, the new Little, the brand new toy. You got to explore your newfound freedom with minimal consequences. However, now that you've made it through the tough transition phase, freshman forgiveness is gone. Friends change. You change. Life starts to rough you up a bit and mistakes leave more permanent injuries. Don't let that scare you. Just be prepared to build a castle out of the bricks that life starts throwing at you.
Surviving Organic Chemistry: Elimination reactions will effectively eliminate your will to live and catalyze your growing dependence on tequila. That's CH3CH3OH, but you'll learn that soon enough. You'll start out drawing hexagons, and then you'll blink and suddenly be staring blankly at 15-step mechanisms with color-coded arrows and elements that travel by means of apparition. It's a delicate time when students must face the harsh reality about their major or pre-med track. Even the people who pass the class might realize that they just don't want to spend another second practicing chemistry. Don't be afraid to start exploring other avenues.
Surviving Socially: Your social scene changed rapidly as a freshman, but as a sophomore you will likely fall into a more constant friend group. Many of the people you met in your residence hall last year will head down different paths and you will quickly be made aware of the relationships that existed due to nothing more than convenience. Once you no longer live in the same building as your besties, relationships will be tested and you will be free to decide if bridges need to be burned. I'm not saying you should maliciously break up with your old friends, but I do advise paying close attention to the difference between quantity and quality. The latter will always serve you best.
Surviving Recruitment: There was a moment during recruitment this year when I realized that I had undoubtedly chosen the right chapter. We were hours deep in Sisterhood Round and I was exhausted, hungry, and irritated, but I had been in the Delta Zeta house for almost 13 hours and the only things I hadn't grown tired of were my sisters. Being with them reminded me that we were meeting potential best friends, choosing the future leaders of our organization, and spreading PHA love and pride to every girl that passed through our front door. Recruitment is an experience unlike any other. You will learn to think quickly in tough or awkward situations and to truly appreciate the support that your sisters provide. You will be challenged. But if you chose the right chapter, you'll make it though recruitment unscathed. And Bid Day will be worth every second. I promise.
Surviving Involvement: Commit to the few organizations that you're actually passionate about and focus on them. We all fall victim to the resume building competition. We see other people accomplishing way more than us, and we just want to catch up or get ahead. Comparison is the thief of joy here. We all want to be able to brag about leadership positions in ten different committees on top of 48 hours of volunteer experiences while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and thrilling social life. But if you try to do everything, you will be good at nothing. You need sleep. You need to pass your classes. You need to drink fewer then ten cups of coffee a day. I recommend choosing two or three extracurricular activities. Some people can manage more, others less. But you will get more out of your time and involvement by being aware of your limits.
Surviving the Internship Search Some people started applying for internships during their freshman year, but for most of us, the joy that accompanies a job search isn't experienced until sophomore year. You may be lucky enough to receive the exact position you want with no great setbacks. You may also spend endless hours applying to every job that you're somewhat qualified for and receive an equally endless stream of rejections. For many hardworking, intelligent students, this may be the first time rejection has knocked at your door. It's frustrating. It's exhausting. It's tedious. It's demoralizing. But it's going to be all right. If you want to minimize some of the heartache, start networking early. Attend career fairs and leadership conferences, because making connections with right people will prove to be immensely helpful. And as long as you remain positive and persistent, something will fall into your lap at the least expected moment. Be patient and trust your abilities.