To The Sophomore Who Doesn't Want To Go Back

To The Rising Sophomore Who Doesn't Know How To Feel As They Return To Their College Campus

"No, not everybody finds their "home" freshman year."

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I have said it once, I'll say it again. The transition to college is the most underrated transition of a young adult's lifetime thus far. I mean, nobody says it's ~easy~, but everybody seems to assume that it's the best time of any teenager's life. And while this may seem to be true for most of your Instagram feed, I promise that it is not true for everyone.

The media, whether it be movies, songs, or just the pictures and videos you scroll through online, portrays freshman year as a never-ending party. It is just good times rolling with picture perfect campus shots fit in whenever necessary. But for those freshmen who didn't acclimate just so to their college campus, all of these images can be exhausting, stressful, and downright depressing. Whether you are just not into the party scene, you struggled to make friends, or you weren't ready to jump right into this scene at school if you didn't live the classic freshman lifestyle it is so easy to feel nothing but guilt.

Looking back I realize that I would have never admitted it to myself at the time, but freshman year was a battle for me. Beyond the classes that I loved, nothing was coming as easy as it did in high school when everything seemed picture perfect. College is often described as a chance to remake yourself, but that was the last thing I wanted to do after high school. I was content with the life I had built at home. Why'd I have to restart? So instead of branching out at school, for the first time in my life, I turned inward.

But what made it harder was that I didn't hate my college, I didn't dislike anyone I was meeting, and I didn't really want to be doing much else than what I was doing. In fact, I was falling in love with my campus, I was building my strongest friendships yet, and I was doing exactly what I wanted to (albeit a bit slower than everybody else).

But why did I still think that I was failing at this whole college thing?

Everywhere I looked, it seemed like everybody made their best friends who they were creating unforgettable memories with, while I was just trying to get my work done and plan my next trip home. While it doesn't sound like I was experiencing the "right" freshman year, I was only really upset with myself when I compared myself to what I thought I should have been.

So, once freshman year ended and I spent my summer recharging and soaking up home in a way I never had before, it became time to head back to campus. Half of me was dreading it. Now I had to return to the place where it seemed like everybody else just had the year of a lifetime, while I felt like I was returning back to move in day. Great.

The other half of me was beyond ready to get back and restart. Although it was a small one, I had set myself a foundation freshman year. And if one thing's for sure I grew a hell of a lot that year, so I was returning the strong, independent woman that freshman year made me. If nothing else, I was ready to give college one more go.

And that's what I did. I stopped letting myself feel inadequate compared to the people who had the textbook freshman year experience. Instead, I let my frustration fuel me to create a year that I had always wanted. Guess what? I made myself a home on my campus. No, not everybody finds their "home" freshman year. If you didn't find your place on your college campus your first year, this surely doesn't mean you still can't.

If you are looking back on freshman year feeling unfulfilled, embarrassed, or stressed, stop. Look forward to this year. Pledge to make it better. That may be one year gone, but you have three left. If you start this year with the determination to make your campus your home, I promise there will be a place for you.

If you are that sophomore who doesn't know how to feel as you return to campus, feel lucky. Feel blessed. Feel excited. Feel ready. I was in your shoes not too long ago. Then I had my best year yet... That I am ready to top this upcoming year. Your return is your chance to hit the re-do button and make college what YOU want it. Go get after it. Don't forget, it's never too late to make your campus your home.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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