A Few Words Of Advice To The Rising Sophomore
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A Few Words Of Advice To The Rising Sophomore

For what it is worth, here are some of the things that I learned along the way…

A Few Words Of Advice To The Rising Sophomore

Since the day of graduation is almost here, I often find myself reflecting on my past years as a college student. Now I can clearly see many of the blunders that I made — and how I could have avoided them. As clichéd as the saying is, hindsight is indeed 20/20. Sometimes I wish I could sit down with my freshman self and have a conversation about what to expect in the coming years, what I would learn over time about myself and other people, and how to avoid each mistake that I would inevitably make. But since I cannot talk to freshman Lynn, I can at least reflect on my college experience and share what I have learned over time. I am certain that I have grown and changed more than I probably even realize.

As I observe the freshman class that is soon to become the next sophomores, I am reminded of my transition from a freshman to a sophomore. In some ways, it seems like sophomore year was forever ago, but in others ways, it seems like it happened only last month. Ever since I arrived on campus for my senior year, I have noticed the happy energy that the current freshman class seems to carry with them wherever they go. I hope that they never lose that energy; their excitement and positivity is so refreshing to see, and every campus needs more of that. Thinking about my sophomore year made me consider some of the lessons that I learned along the way. Everyone’s college experience is different, but here are a few suggestions that are based on my personal college experience that a rising sophomore may find helpful:

  • If you have survived freshman year, then you are going to be just fine. This is not to say that college will necessarily get any easier, but you now have a better idea of what to expect and how to deal with the stress that comes your way. After all, college is a continual learning and growing experience. College becomes more manageable over time because you have done it before.
  • If you still feel like a freshman when you return to campus in the fall, that is O.K. I felt that way too…almost the entirety of my sophomore year! Some students transition faster than others, but my transition was slow.
  • Your friend group is probably going to shift over your four years as a college student, and that is also O.K. Sometimes, it is even for the better. Choose your close friends carefully. It is important to evaluate your friend group and ask yourself whether your friends are having a negative or positive influence on you. Also, be sure to ask yourself: are you being a good friend in return? Keep making new friends. Strengthen the relationships with the friends that you have now, but don’t forget to branch out. You may be pleasantly surprised by some of the friendships that come your way.
  • Once you return to college as a sophomore, you will realize that your current status as a new face on campus has been handed over to the incoming freshman class. You will find that you blend in more with the other students who have been here longer than you have. It may seem a little disconcerting to be replaced by a new group of freshmen who will now be the new center of attention, but be mindful that many of those freshman, regardless of how confident they may appear, will actually look up to you and want to get to know you. Try your best to welcome them. It may take longer to get to know the new class than you expect, but by second semester you will undoubtedly have made some wonderful new friends.
  • Not only will your status as a new student change, but you too will change. I have never been a highly confident individual, but looking back to where I started freshman year, one of the positive changes that I have observed is that my confidence level has slowly increased over these four years as a student. If you think that you have already changed significantly, expect to change even more. Change can be painful, but growth is always necessary to become the best person you can be.
  • People actually do not think about you as much as you imagine. Like most people, I have often struggled with caring too much about what other people think. One of my favorite expressions of wisdom comes from my roommate’s mom: “Don’t worry about what people think of you; they don’t.” People could care less, and so should you.
  • Purposefully set aside alone time. This is something that I wish I had done more often over my years as a student. You are surrounded by people all of the time, which is unavoidable. People will inevitably get on your nerves at times, and sometimes you just need to be alone in order to hear yourself think. I find that quality alone time often clears my perspective.
  • Finally, just as a reminder: college is going to fly by. You know that already; you have probably been told more than a few times. My guess is that you are even now asking yourself where the time has gone. But it is so true. As you become a sophomore, junior, and finally, a senior, keep reminding yourself to make the most of the time that you have. College may not be the best time of your life, but it is a unique and special phase of life, so enjoy as much of it as possible.

One final note to the rising sophomores: congratulations on being almost done with your freshman year of college! I have absolutely loved getting to know the freshman that I have had the privilege of meeting this year, and I hope that my own college experiences may prove to be useful as you prepare for the fall semester. Best wishes for a successful sophomore year!

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