A Sophomoric Season
An often overlooked year has some significance
If the first year of college is crazy, homesick, adaptive and investigative, then senior year is nostalgic, anxious, lazy, and triumphant. Junior year is a grind through meaty upper divisions and a mad scramble for the most impressive summer internship. And sophomore year is, well, D. None of the above.
Somewhere in that twilight zone – between the "Great Adjustment" to college life and the shadow of impending graduation -- sophomore year exists; vintage but fleeting, like the moment when the sun first touching the horizon until it disappears. Our second year is when we begin the transition from newcomer to veteran. After a year of spreading ourselves thin between every club and activity, sophomore year is the crucible of our college experience, the period when we must choose which cards to discard and which ones to double down.
Sophomore year is uniquely impactful because it is our biggest chance to be proactive. Not to excuse ourselves from being so every other year, but at some level the choices we make about classes, jobs, living situation, and social life in both our first and upperclassmen years are largely reactions to the external pressures of "the next step." In sophomore year, we did not just arrive, and we are not just leaving. A year removed from either its beginning or its end, we are fully in tune with this era in our lives.
Many of us come into the first year and immerse ourselves in the crew team, Greek life, or preparing for medical school, but whether we continue on this path as sophomores is when we truly decide where these endeavors fit in our lives. Year two may or may not be the defining point of our college experience, but the choices we make during this brief season determine what that point will look like. Sophomore year we choose our influences. We may not have fully defined ourselves, but these choices will often do most of the work.
Freshman year we experiment. Sophomore year we prioritize. Junior year we work. Senior year we achieve. Or so it seems to me. Then again I'm only a sophomore.