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A Thank You Letter to Sophomore Year: Thank You For Changing My Life

Dear sophomore year, 

It was a sunny day. It was Labor Day weekend. It was a Monday, the sky was blue and my mind was happy. That morning, I woke up with plans to drive back from Cape Cod to Boston, and then home. My plans had a few stops on the way, and they turned out to be some pretty great ones. 

I was eating breakfast tacos in a parking lot when I got a Twitter notification that my first story for The Daily Collegian was posted. The feeling I had that morning was unforgettable, and the memories I have of seeing my first byline will stay with me forever. And things only got better. 

On the last leg of my route, as the sun began to set and I entered the rotary near the sign for Alewife Station in Cambridge, I pulled over to check my email. With no knowledge that results would come out that day, I saw the email saying I was accepted to Her Campus.

Two things that I decided to commit to over the course of the summer were The Collegian and Her Campus. On the same day, I officially started my work in both places. For once in my life, it felt like things were on the right track. 

But to fully tell the story of you, my sophomore year, I need to think back to before the happiness began and remember why these moments are so crucial to my life. 

Before this year, I really didn’t know what to expect. I put so much pressure on you from the start and I never would have guessed what this year would be like. With so much time lost after my freshman year consisted of a pandemic sending me home early and a semester at a school I hated, I knew I had to savor every moment and opportunity I had next. 

Over quarantine, I found the person I wanted to be. I learned so much about myself, discovered new things, set off on new goals and left behind the parts of me I wanted to change. Going into sophomore year, I needed a space and environment that allowed me to be the person I am, not the one I spent freshman year trying to be. 

Even with tears filling my eyes about spending my fall semester at home, it turned out to be beyond beneficial. Zoom classes were new to me, and I barely had the chance to make friends at UMass before the pandemic. Forcing myself to live off campus and navigate through the world of online classes in a weird, unusual space would stunt my growth and shrink my experience. At home, I got to just be me, focus on my goals, and learn to try new things in a safe, supportive environment. 

From the very first Zoom meeting for Her Campus to the very last Collegian meeting I am about to have, the connections I have made are genuine. The space it has provided me I will forever be in debt to. The ability to meet new people, do what I love, and find people who share my passions in the middle of the pandemic sounds impossible. But as I look back at the last year, that is all I have been able to do. 

Her Campus and The Collegian saved me.


I was drowning and I couldn’t really swim well (LOL) so needless to say, it was great that both these things invited me on their boat. 

These people like me for who I am and accept me for who I want to continue to become. There aren’t enough words to fully say the impact HC and The Collegian have had on my life. 

The people I met my sophomore year made me a better person. The laughs I have shared, the support I have gained, and the ability to watch people I call friends create such incredible content has brought me so much joy.

This year could have gone so many different ways. But you sophomore year, you changed my life for the better. You brought new meaning to the word friend. You created a space filled with rich opportunities that will impact my life forever. You pushed me to advocate for myself. 

The Collegian and Her Campus were the brightest lights in the darkest moments.

So now, I think back to the beginning of September, when I saw that first byline. 

And think about how last Wednesday, I was hired as the next Sports Editor. I started at the bottom, and in less than a year, I was hired to lead the section for next year. 

I did that. And I am really proud of that.

Cheers to a year of growth, cheers to women in power, and cheers to the friends I made that and the memories I will never forget. Thank you for changing my life, one Zoom at a time.

Cheers to you, sophomore year. 

Thank you for everything. 

grateful sign
Photo by Dylan Ferreira from Unsplash


Lulu Kesin

U Mass Amherst '23

Lulu is a sophomore double major in journalism and communications. Some of Lulu's passions include wearing patterned pants, dancing in the grocery store, watching coming of age movies and advocating for female equality in the sports industry.
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