Loyola Marymount University Her Campus Executive Board, girls in college smiling

Shout Out to You, Sophomore Year

I’m a sucker for happy endings. I sometimes even plan out just how I want things to end in my head…to try and ensure that they really do work out perfectly in real life. 

Well, I learned a lot this school year. And one of my biggest takeaways from fourteenth grade was this: things don’t always play out how you want them to. 

The conclusion of this semester was far from perfect and not at all the happy ending I’d started to plan out in my head. No, this ending was surprising, abrupt, and truthfully an ending that I’ll probably never forget. BUT! It did give me the time to really sit back and think about everything I learned this school year. 

This time last spring, I wrote an article about my freshman year of college. I titled it, “The End of an Era: Freshman Year Edition”. I wanted to title this article the same thing and simply make it the sophomore version, but I feel like this “era” isn’t quite over yet. Sophomore year and junior year are both the “middle years” of college. They just sort of go together. Maybe we won’t remember this time as vividly as our freshman or senior years in the long run, but these middle years are really important. Why? Well, these are the times we fully get the hang of college while also exploring what we want to do once we leave. 

Bringing back that old expression about college my dad taught me, “Freshman know nothing and know they know nothing, sophomores know something but think they know nothing, juniors know something but think they know everything, & seniors know everything and know they know everything.” 

Maybe going into sophomore year, you felt you didn’t know enough. Maybe you feel you still don’t. Regardless of how prepared or unprepared you felt upon entering year two, I can guarantee you learned something about yourself this year. 

Sooooo, think back to all of your defining moments from this past school year. How have they shaped you? What is it you’ve learned? As sophomores, I’m sure we can all relate to classes getting much harder and our procrastination skills getting much better. I literally wrote so many papers this past fall semester that I got sick of typing on my laptop and ended up typing several APA essays in the notes folder on my phone. One of these so-called “phone papers” was even finished minutes before the deadline, as I was going through airport security before a flight back to LA…oopsies.

As school begins to show its true colors sophomore year, so do your friends. I’m sure we can all think back to freshman year and remember how a big, collective goal of ours was to meet as many new people as possible. Now, you may have traded in a lot of those acquaintance friends for a handful of real ones. Or maybe you even met a few new friends just this year that quickly became your realest and truest friends. Sophomore year has taught me the importance of surrounding myself with people who make me a better person and, in turn, a better friend. No matter how your friend-finding and friend-making journey has gone in college, I hope you invest in people who invest in you right back. 

Classes got tougher, friendships deepened, hmm…what else happened to all of us this year? Oh yeah, a global pandemic took the world by storm. I know COVID-19 has affected everyone in very serious ways, bringing tons of brand-new challenges with it. In regard to college life, Coronavirus has erased many of those “perfect endings” that I mentioned before. For students of all ages, it elicited the uncomfortable switch to online learning. For college seniors, it’s caused graduations to be taken away or postponed. For incoming freshman, it’s increased panic and the fear of missing out on their first fall semester of school. 

Coronavirus is awful, I think we can all agree on that. But as the battle against this virus continues, it’s important to take this quarantine time to really think about all of the good things in life. Those things you miss about college and those friendships you’re now maintaining from a safe distance, sit back and be grateful for them all. There has to be bad times in order for us to appreciate the good, remember that. 

I said something similar in last year’s article, but I’ll leave you with this: congratulations! We’re halfway done with college. Maybe you loved it so much you want to do it all over again. Maybe you want to go back and change the way certain things played out (like spring semester’s abrupt “ending” or the all the Zoom lectures). Or maybe you want it to be the end of senior year already so you can get the heck out of school. However sophomore year played out for you, it’s important to reflect on what you loved and what you didn’t, so you can make the changes needed to set yourself up for a successful junior year.  

So, here’s to you class of 2022! Two down, two more to go!!