A Letter to My Sophomore Year

It’s hard to believe that another year at UNCW is coming to a close. How could that be? Didn’t freshman year just end yesterday?

However, it is even more difficult to comprehend that the completion of my sophomore year marks the halfway point in my undergraduate education. The following years will likely bring new challenges and experiences, but before diving into the next chapter of my life, I want to reflect on this one.

Sophomore year, you and I both know that you topped freshman year in almost every way possible. For starters, this was the year my living situation upgraded considerably. I now had my own room and a full kitchen, every introverted college student’s dream. Not to mention, I met three of the most wonderful girls with whom I shared that space. Despite a minor age difference, they are some of the most caring and compassionate people I’ve met. Thank you for making sure our paths crossed this year.

And thank you, too, for allowing me to build up my pre-existing college friendships. You saw the celebration of many one-year-friendaversaries last fall, as well as an embarrassing amount of stress-induced trips to El Cerro Grande. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.

You were also the year I started working part time on campus, an experience that taught me the importance of balance. Working on top of a full course load was very intimidating at first. I was worried my grades would slip or that my social life would die out, but over time, the tools I learned last year became essential, helping me reach near perfect equilibrium between the three spheres of life. I felt serious power in this accomplishment.

Perhaps what sets you apart from freshman year the most is the various failures and rejection you unleashed upon me. I tried desperately to take on more responsibilities, whether it be through an internship or involvement with additional on-campus programs. However, no one seemed willing to give me a chance (or so I told myself). I am still trying to figure out why this could be, but perhaps such “failures” were blessings in disguise. Everything happens for a reason, after all.

Such reasoning fails to explain why you gave me so many unpleasant surprises, though. Do you remember when I passed out for the first time after having blood drawn? Or when my car battery died? You win some and lose some. Not every memorable moment has to be a positive experience, and you made sure I knew that.

But, despite the occasional frustrations, doubts, and failures, you blessed me with more self-confidence than I have ever known. While the future is filled with “unknowns,” I no longer fear them. You taught me to fully embrace life, even the parts that seem scary and unpredictable. I hope to carry this same mindset with me into the future.

So thank you, sophomore year, for the sweet friendships, the roomie-yoga-bonding-sessions, the Mexican food, the blessings in disguise, and the new way in which I view life and myself. The growth I have experienced this year because of you is immeasurable.



[Photos courtesy of Lindsay Baker]