by April Bayer
Congratulations, you’ve made it to sophomore year! Seriously, surviving your freshman year is something to be proud of. After a spending a whole year adjusting to a new place, navigating the ups and downs of living with a roommate, figuring out how classes work and living primarily on Janzow food, you’re back and ready for round two. By this point, you’re probably already involved with a few groups on campus and have gotten to know some of your professors pretty well, but chances are you still have a few things to figure out.
- Be nice to the freshmen.
Now that year two has arrived, you’re no longer at the bottom of the food chain. But remember the days when you didn’t know how to print? The first time you looked across the dining hall and realized there was no you knew to sit with? That time you locked yourself out of your room wearing nothing but a towel? You were in their shoes just a year ago, so reach out, be a pal and steer them in the right direction.
2. Get involved.
On average, people seem to sign up for about five to ten email lists at the activities fair and actually attend approximately zero meetings. If a new club seems interesting to you, try it out. If you joined a group last year that wasn’t really your thing, don’t be afraid to spend your time doing other things. Now that you’ve got a year in, this could also be a great opportunity to start looking for leadership positions in areas you’re passionate about.
3. Now that you’ve survived the Freshman 15, get ready for the Sophomore 16.
Just kidding. Sort of. But seriously, do make sure you’re still making time to take care of yourself, whether that’s taking a break from homework to sit back and listen to some music, enjoying a healthy, homemade meal with your friends or going for a jog on Plum Creek. Your physical and mental health will thank you.
4. Be prepared for change.
Classes get harder, friends get busier and your free time shrinks exponentially. If you don’t adjust to change well (like me), prepare yourself. Those weekend trips to Lincoln or late-night movie nights may become fewer and far between. You may end up spending more time staring at textbooks, typing papers, lying around, and eating junk food in your dorm room than you’d care to admit. You might find new interests, and your friends might do the same. Just do your best to take it all in stride. It can be tough, but chances are this experience will help you grow.
5. Make new friends, but keep the old.
College is a place where people are constantly shifting between classes, dorms and activities of all kinds. Chances are you’ll meet some pretty cool new people and see less of others. This can be hard, but it’s also normal. It doesn’t mean you have to lose touch with all your friends from freshman year, but you may have to be more intentional about spending time with them. Just know that through it all, your closest friends have got your back.
6. Take advantage of the time you do have.
If you haven’t started to already, keep track of due dates, assignments and important events in a planner or calendar. It will help you manage your time and stay organized. Make sure you don’t waste your free time. Take a walk, binge watch Stranger Things on Netflix or take a 3 a.m. trip to IHOP if you haven’t already (seriously, it’s a great bonding experience).
7. It’s alright if you want to change your program/major.
At the end of my freshman year, a nagging voice in the back of my head wouldn’t stop questioning if my program of study was exactly right for me. The process of finding a new faculty advisor and figuring out a new program seemed scary and intimidating, but it was definitely worth it. If you love what you’re studying, that’s awesome, and you should keep it up. However, if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The earlier you get things figured out, the happier you’ll be and the more likely it will be that you’ll be able to graduate on time.
8. You probably don’t have everything figured out yet, and that’s okay.
You may have a year under your belt, but there’s probably a few things you’re still wondering about, and that’s totally normal. Even the juniors and seniors don’t know everything. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy the adventures the year will bring.