Any college student will tell you that their experience during freshman year wasn't exactly what they were expecting. College life is portrayed as the best four ... or five ... or six ... years of a person's life, especially in movies and television. While this can often be true, most students go into their freshman year expecting friendships, stellar grades, and overall success to come quickly and easily. However, the hard truth is that freshman year is typically full of awkward introductions, messy study habits, and failures that we aren't used to making.

The beauty of mistakes made during freshman year is that by sophomore year, lessons have been learned.

My sophomore year just began, and it has already exceeded my expectations. Classes have not yet started, but I can see a difference in the way I am approaching this semester compared to last year.

I am a better planner.

Throughout high school and much of my freshman year, I relied on the power of my memory to meet deadlines. I had a notebook planner like many other students, but it remained mostly untouched in my backpack besides when I took the time to scribble in important reminders. Now, I constantly update both my planner and dry-erase calendar with assignment deadlines, meeting times, and important birthdays. This has made me more organized, and in turn, less stressed.

I have established and growing relationships.

A huge fear that I had as an incoming student is that I would have trouble making connections with my peers and building friendships. Now that I am in my second year of college, I am starting the year with friends made over the course of my freshman year. I am now able to continue growing those friendships and creating new ones with their love and support. The new-ness is gone, and with it, so are my worries.

I know what to expect from my classes.

With two semesters of credit hours under my belt, I know how my classes will work this semester. I now know that a syllabus is my best friend, office hours are something I should always attend, and extra credit opportunities should never be ignored. It is comforting to know the professors in my department and to be ready for the intensity that comes with a college course load. Nothing could have prepared me so well for this upcoming year other than the experience of freshman year.

Freshman year is an exciting and nerve-wracking time in any college student's life. It allows for so much growth and wisdom to be gained. It is the year of finding your place and where you belong.

Sophomore year builds upon all that you learned in your first year of college. It is the year of falling in love with what you have created. It is the year of knowing your groove and enjoying the dance.