Sophomore year is tough. I thought my freshman year was difficult, but boy was I wrong when I thought I successfully made it through the most challenging time of my college career.
I remember when I first moved into to my sophomore year residence hall at the end of August. I was filled with excitement and confidence because I thought I had my major decided, my friend group figured out, and my job at Starbucks all locked into place. However; everything began to fall apart at the seams more quickly than expected. My classes were difficult, living in a suite was uncomfortable at times, and Starbucks was scheduling me more than I could handle. Everything that could go wrong, basically did. I found myself drowning in all of the commitments I made, and although I was incredibly busy and involved in almost everything GU has to offer, there was an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach that never went away. It was as if everything I was working towards was amounting to nothing, and I was essentially running in place. After deep reflection with not only myself but also the ones I love, I discovered a few tips that I would have found useful at the beginning of my sophomore year…
1. Confide in the people you trust.
A big mistake I made during my time of struggle was refusing to ask for help and talk to people about what was bothering me. I felt stuck, alone, overwhelmed, and more empty than I had every felt in my entire life. With that being said, I also felt like if I ever talked about it, I just sounded like an ungrateful college student who was too privileged for her own good. But this was far from true. College is extremely difficult, and is not something you can do by yourself. Once I began confiding in my best friends, parents and people I really trust, I found myself feeling relieved and like I wasn’t the only one feeling so distraught and overwhelmed. Trust me, people care about how you are doing. You are not alone in the struggles you are experiencing. Reach out to people, and I promise you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.
2. Everything you are feeling is normal.
Don’t freak out. I repeat, DO NOT freak out just because you don’t have everything figured out and decided. College, let alone sophomore year, is a selfish time to figure out who you are and who you want to become. It is way better to try new things and take time in discovering your passion rather than immediately jumping into a major you know nothing about. It is also completely normal to feel alone sometimes. College is a time of self-discovery and contemplation, and sometimes it feels like you have to figure everything out by yourself. Don’t freak out about it, because I promise that the majority of college students are going through the exact same process. Embrace the feeling of being alone and turn it into feelings of independence and empowerment! Get to know yourself, and more importantly begin to love yourself. You are absolutely capable of everything life throws at you, and although it can be scary at times, these feelings are NORMAL and are only transforming you into the person you are meant to be.
3. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself.
Everyone is familiar with the expression, “college is the best four years of your life.” To be honest, sometimes I feel like they are the complete opposite. It is so mentally and physically draining to work a part time job, go to class, maintain a social life, and stay healthy. It is a balancing act that seems virtually impossible. Although it can be overwhelming, it is also a time in our lives that we are never going to get back, so we might as well enjoy them. Think about it… when are you ever going to live within 5 minutes walking distance from all of your friends? When are you ever going to stay up until 3 am with some of your best friends trying to study, but ending up laughing at anything and everything? When are you ever going to dance all night long at a party and feel like you’re in a movie? Never. College only happens once, and there is no dress-rehearsal. I know it can be difficult, and there are times when I have seriously considered dropping out and adopting 100 cats. But when I take time to put everything in perspective, I realize I’ve created unforgettable memories with amazing people that I know will be by my side for the rest of my life. College goes by insanely fast, don’t forget to enjoy it.