Freshman year of college is scary. Even if you’re super independent in High School, nothing prepares you for leaving your friends and family and basically everything you have ever known. When my parents dropped me off at college, nearly 1,000 miles from home, I cried. That’s all I could do. Nothing prepares you for leaving for your freshman year of college.
Even though I was loving college by the end of my freshman year, I was ecstatic to go home for the summer. It was so great spending time at home with my family that I started to worry if I would be homesick again the beginning of my sophomore year. I honestly didn’t think I would be able to handle all the emotions that come with being homesick again. I tried to push these worries aside and focus on dorm room decorations or extracurricular plans.
Once I arrived at school I was nervous that the same feelings of loneliness, fear, and sadness that I had freshman year would come back. To my surprise, they didn’t. As I started moving bags and boxes into my dorm room I didn’t feel nervous at all…I felt excited. I began to understand that sophomore year is so different from freshman year.
Freshman year you were forced to have “fun.” Most colleges have programs in place that are meant to help you transition into your first week at school. While they may help some people, to me it just felt like I was being forced to smile and pretend like I was happy. There is none of that sophomore year. You have the choice to stay in your room all day during the first week or go out every night if you want. Unlike freshman year where you are coddled for the first week, if not longer, you actually have freedom sophomore year.
Freshman year you don’t know anyone (except maybe the people you met on Facebook) so on top of the stresses of moving, you have to worry about making friends. Sophomore year your group of friends is pretty much established. You talked over the summer and you’re excited to see everyone again. You never again have to worry about eating alone in the dining hall (not that there’s anything wrong with that), or ubering to a grocery store alone. By sophomore year, you’ve found “your people.”
Freshman year you were like a lost puppy. I remember taking a picture of a campus map so I could pretend to be texting on my way to class when I was actually just trying to find my way to class. Sophomore year you know where (most) of your classes are. Not only does this prevent you from getting completely lost and ending up in another city, it also prevents the awkward “30 minutes early to class I don’t know what to do” scenario that we’ve all experienced.
Freshman year you didn’t know who you were. You knew who you were in high school with your parents and the people you grew up with, but you didn’t know who you were alone, with no one influencing you. Sophomore year you’re a little closer to knowing who you are and where your place is in this world. Sophomore year everything (well maybe not classes) is just a bit easier.