I've just moved in to my sophomore year, and there's already an air of difference right from the get-go. Packing was a little easier and a little delayed. There wasn't as great of an excitement to go out in the early days of summer to pick out all of your dorm needs the second time around as students rather waited until the last few weeks to pick up those few extra things you need for the new year. This year, I didn't start getting my things together until two to three weeks out (and didn't finish packing until the day I moved in), while freshman year I was finished packing with a month to go. It's not that I don't "care" as much for the second year, but I know I don't need to panic to wrap everything together, and I already have the bulk of what I need.
Even moving in was a different process. Last year, a team of people helped bring stuff up to my room, but this year I'm on that team, so the only helpers I had were my parents and sister who came up with me. My decor changed too as now I have more up on the wall representing my school and sorority rather than the various quotes I had up last year. It was also a simpler process, because I knew what I would need help with from my family, what I could do on my own, and what not make them sit through (i.e., all my million pieces of clothing). My roommate changed, too, because going in this time I knew the girl from real life and not just from an online profile. (Though my roommate last year was wonderful and still one of my best friends!)
My planning for this upcoming year is also different. Last year, once all my professors posted the books, I was right on buying them whereas this year I'm looking for the better prices and not getting anything until I know for sure I'll use it. (RENT! RENT! That's my #1 tip, especially renting from Amazon Prime or Chegg!) Another huge thing is just knowing people and recognizing faces, from my sorority to my dorm last year to my classes; it's nice to see people you know right from the start, especially going to a really large school like mine.
My outlook for the year is different because I'm confident in what I learned from last year, be it from the classes and times I picked, to the bus system, and to where and when to eat; I have a better mindset going into sophomore year than I did freshman year. It's also nice being on the "knowing" side rather than the "needing to know" side, and feeling confident and knowing the answers when people ask questions about where things are or how to get there.
Good luck to all the college sophomores out there for a great year (and all the other college kids as well)!