Looking for tips for sophomores to help you maximize this year? Look no further!
I just graduated this year! So as a bit of a project to bring some closure to such a huge part of my life, I decided to do a post a week with tips for each year in college. Sophomore year was an amazing year for me and there were so many things I did right, but I really wish I had these tips for sophomores back then–I definitely would have done some things differently!
So I hope you enjoy these tips I put together and that they help you make the most of this year!
Tips for Sophomores #1: Start looking now for opportunities to volunteer
I cannot tell you how much I wish I had known this in second year. Of all the tips for sophomores, this is most important to those of you going for graduate programs. A lot of them require letters of recommendation and research experience, so get started ASAP! You’ll be eons ahead of your classmates if you start now, and sophomore year is the perfect time to start! Many grad programs don’t look at your grades from this year, you’ve got a lot easier courses than you will have later, lots more time, and you don’t have to worry about grad school and scholarship applications at the same time.
Start asking professors who do research if you can volunteer at all by (a) saying why you want to get involved with their research, (b) sending your CV and unofficial transcript, and (c) following-up with them to make sure they got your e-mail. Trust me–it’s worth it!
Tips for Sophomores #2: Don’t be afraid to switch majors
(credit goes to @_breepi)
The idea of changing majors can be really scary–what about your life plan?! Will this ruin everything??!! But the truth is that it really won’t. So many students change their majors at least once before graduating–my husband changed from international studies and modern languages to psychology. I switched from a BSc to a BA because my career plans changed. If you’ve survived the horror of first-year courses and you’re still really not enjoying what you’re doing or you’re struggling to pass, maybe you should try asking yourself these questions to help you choose a major that is more applicable to your interests, strengths, and aspirations.
If you’re switching majors, you haven’t failed. You’ve simply learned more about yourself and have a better idea of what you want for your life. As long as you have a plan for that major you’re switching to, it’s a win. If you want to change majors but have no idea what you want to do with your life, I’d advise not going for a general arts degree but instead working for a year to figure out what you like or don’t like, then going back to school the next year. You’ll be loaded compared to your friends!
Tips for Sophomores #3: Be open to finding love a lot earlier than you were planning
My plan was to date for a while in college, and then fall in love with a guy and marry him when I was around 23, 24. Yeah that didn’t happen. I met Connor in September of 2013, we started dating in January of 2014, and we were married in July of 2015. When you know you know.
But something I had a hard time with in my sophomore year was allowing myself to just enjoy being in love with him–from January to May I had actually a bit of a commitment issue. I didn’t introduce him to my parents immediately, and I was so scared he was going to leave me at every turn but simultaneously was terrified of the idea that I had actually met the right person so young! I knew that getting married young would be a lot of hard work.
But after I finally just let go and decided “you know what, screw it. I met him now, I love him now, and we’re just going to be in love and be happy” it was great. Whether or not you meet “the one” while you’re in college, be open to the possibility. In my mind the most important thing in life is family, so if you meet your future family a bit earlier than you were expecting, why shouldn’t he still get priority? It’s not his fault he came around too early.
Tips for Sophomores #4: This is prime time to travel
I didn’t realize how much my life was going to change in the next couple of years, but sophomore year is the perfect time to go on a fun trip, whether that’s spring break with your girlfriends or a road trip with family.
See, in your junior and senior years you have a lot on your plate. You’re working during the summer, you have too much schoolwork to leave during spring break and fall break, and you’re also trying to deal with applications for grad schools, most of your friends have coupled up, and it can be hard to get a trip organized.
But in sophomore year, you’re all still more kids than adults most of the time–when you have an opportunity, take it! That’s what college is all about, making the most of the opportunities you’re given.
In my sophomore year, I went to Nashville with my mom after visiting Connor’s family in BC and it was a blast! Of course, I was underage in the states even though I could legally drink in Canada, but it was still a lot of fun going to the honky tonk bars and seeing so many quintessential Nashville landmarks. I’m so happy I took that opportunity, but I definitely regret saying “no” to some other trips, believing that I’d have more time next summer or after we graduated (HA what a joke).
Tips for Sophomores #5: Realize that a lot of your friends are going to change, and that’s OK
From September of sophomore year to April of Sophomore year my friend group almost completely changed. I definitely kept a lot of friends, but who were my best friends in October were not the people I spent my time with in February. And a lot of that is because, simply speaking, people change. And as you spend more time together, you start to realize when those ways you’re changing don’t mesh very well together. And it can be really hard. I know a lot of people who made tons of BFFs in first year, and then by the middle of second year they’re all just acquaintances again. It can be hard, but know that it’s normal. And your friendship does change, try not to have a falling out–just allow the relationship to cool off naturally.
Tips for Sophomores #6: Allow yourself to change, too
What you might not recognize until the end of the year, though, is how much you’ve changed, too. Going through these pictures to gather them for the post was so strange, because I hadn’t realized how much my life had changed from first to second to third to fourth year.
Give yourself permission to grow. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Give yourself permission to learn from them. That’s how you grow, and that’s how you become the person you were always meant to be. College isn’t meant to be a time to hide away from challenges.
Don’t fight the ways you’re growing. Are you realizing that you’re having less and less in common with your friends with high school? Maybe it’s just time for you to move on. Are you feeling like the clubs you joined last year really aren’t what you thought they were, and aren’t helping you very much? Be OK with that and try to find some new outlets. It’s perfectly good to change, you’re in a time of transition. So accept that you’re changing. And celebrate it.
Tips for Sophomores #7: Don’t forget about the people back home
In Freshman year, you’re so homesick all you can think about is home for the first bit. But then school becomes fun–you make friends, have roommates, and get used to having a lot of freedom and independence.
But while you’re out enjoying your newly found adulthood, don’t forget about the people back at home. Your parents, siblings, grandparents–make sure that you stay in contact with them and maintain those relationships. Tips for sophomores are usually about school, I know, but this is just as important. College is only four years of your life–family is all the rest of them. So don’t waste any time you have with them, but instead make an effort to invest time in the relationships that matter most–those with family.
Sophomore year was fantastic. You finally get to start courses you enjoy, you have a solid friends group, you’re living with roommates or in your own apartment–it’s a pretty fantastic time. I hope that these tips for sophomores can help you make the most of this year.
What do you wish you knew in second year? Any tips for sophomores? Leave them in the comments below!
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