Sophomore Year Reflections

Sophomore Year Reflections

A look back at the greatest year yet.
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As hard as it is to believe, I am done with my sophomore year of college. Going into this year, I never expected what came out of it to actually happen. This year, I was tested, but in the midst, still ended up having an amazing time with some pretty incredible people. I wrote this to reflect back on an amazing year and express my excitement for my junior year. Enjoy!

This was the year that I finally found my place.

For years, even in my own family, I have felt that I was the "ugly duckling that would never turn into a swan." This year changed that. I discovered that I was someone worth it, and also found my own standards to achieve.

This was the year that I found my beauty.

Beauty truly does come from within, but I feel even more comfortable when I wear a little bit of makeup. Maybe it is finding my inner feminine voice, maybe it is just a subtle change to some, but it has done wonders for me. Seeing that I am capable of looking "pretty" has changed my life. While I do believe that beauty comes from within, I definitely do not judge myself when I make a contour look fire AF.

This was the year that I found my voice.

I am a lot of things, but above all, I am an activist. And you know what? I think it is pretty damn cool. I don't march or post things on Facebook for attention, I do it because I want to enact change in this majorly messed up world.

This was the year that I found my love of literature.

I actually enjoy reading assigned texts in class. Granted, some I enjoy more than others, but that is beside the fact, I love reading, and spending hours cooped up in a library is actually not terrible. I have a thirst for knowledge, and I don't know if it will ever be fully quenched.

This was the year I stopped letting others define me.

Yes, this includes my friends, and it definitely includes my family. My name is nothing more than that: a name. Why should I have let something so arbitrary define me in the past? It's stupid, and in realizing that, I found things that I like about myself.

This was the year I became independent

There is an expression used commonly in my generation. To quote, "I don't need no man." It is so true. Rather than pining for something to happen, I just started to let life run its destined course. In the process, I found that I am capable of doing things with or without a man by my side. Patriarchy? Smash it.

This was the year I found myself.

As cliche as it may be, I found myself in the process of finding out all of the other things about my life. Life can be tricky sometimes, but it's finding my inner me that will lead me to my future. Kinda cool if you ask me.

Thank you, sophomore year, for the memories. I can't wait to return to campus to do it all again this fall.


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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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An Open Letter To Myself At 15

This is an open letter to myself about things I wish I had known at 15.

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Dear Hailey,

You are so loved. I know times might be hard, but it will all be okay. It's okay to ride the fence and be unsure of what you want to do with your life. You're going to change your mind 10 more times before graduation anyways. Also, don't worry about all of the things that you can't change. You can't make someone fall in love with you or make her treat you like a better friend. It's okay for people not to fit in your life. Stop bending over backward for people and live for yourself. In a few years, you will go through so much, but you come out on the better side. You are going to be successful and driven. Also, learn what the meaning of "self-care" is. You need to do a lot of that in the upcoming years. Mental health is more important than anything. Also, quit cutting your baby hairs. They will never get longer so you need to embrace and love them early on. Figure out what you can change, and what you cannot. Most importantly, accept what you cannot change. When you decide that you are ready to face the things that you can change, do it with your whole heart. That doesn't mean complete perfection. It's important to know the difference. Start by making a plan for the future. Write it down, memorize it, do whatever makes it the easiest for you. Think through your plan logically, take into consideration your strengths and weaknesses. Remember to do the hard things first once in a while, the relief is sweet in the end.

You are ready.

You are young.

You are smart.

You are beautiful.

If you ever feel that you are at your lowest point, just remember the only place that you can go is up. Find reassurance in the weakness. The best is yet to come. Don't take pity on yourself. Instead, work harder to make your situation better. Be happy. There are so many things to be thankful for. Ask when you need help. No one can read your mind. Time won't stop for you. Worrying and stressing is simply a waste of time. Be strong and know that you are in God's hands. Everything will work out. It may not be today or tomorrow, but eventually, the pieces will fall into place and you will understand why things had to happen that way.

Love,

Me

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