To My Sister, On Her First Day of Sophomore Year

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soph·o·mor·ic: adjective: having or showing a lack of emotional maturity: foolish and immature

What a hopeful outlook society has adopted for a high school student’s second year of high school!

Before year 9 you won’t take this advice very seriously because you won’t really know what I’m talking about. Every year you’ll read this letter again and understand it a little better than you did before. And you’ll find out that what I’m saying is true (in some respects, at least). And you will look back when you graduate and regret a little bit but we’re not all perfect, are we?

Last year, around this time, I wrote a letter to my sister, Victoria, addressing the topic of freshman year…since then it’s become one of the most popular and constantly visited posts on this whole blog.

So I’m here to shed a little knowledge about your second year, and I hope my experience might help you along.

My dearest Vicky,

You’re not hot shit. You’re still an underclassman. You will undoubtedly exhibit behavior seen as unjustifiable, unwarranted by the upperclassmen, and next year, you will also see it as such.

By now, you’ve probably discovered some sort of friend group, but don’t expect it to be nailed down the ground…everyone and every circumstance is always constantly evolving, and you have to be ready to evolve along with it.

Driving is also a thing. You’ve got your permit and you’ll be shooting for your license soon. This is a true checkpoint of growing, because I’ve had to accept that you’re not always going to be in the backseat or even the passenger seat anymore. When you get behind the wheel, remember to strangle bad habits before they grow roots.

Adopt some sort of cultured reading habit. Put aside a teen romance novel for once and read TIME, read the news, and read whatever you think might be interpreted as classic literature. It will help you speak more eloquently, expand your horizons when it comes to thinking about the world, and appreciate works of art not written in this century.

When school starts to accelerate, you’ll realize that this year is a time to solidify your study skills and focus on them, because you’ve made it over the adjustment period (freshman year) and are just perched in the eye of the storm, the calm before the hurricane of inevitable college stress hits you full on.

You’ve found some extracurricular activities now that undoubtedly interest you, so it might be time to narrow them down to a core few. No, this advice has nothing to do this college and everything to do with your own personal well-being. It’s important not to stretch yourself out thin and force yourself to go in to many directions or branch out onto dead limbs or follow a path just because a certain someone is also walking along it.

This is a year where people will lecture you and hold assemblies about college, enough so that the mere idea of it will become a bit closer, a bit more tangible.

Finally, you’ll back to your freshman year and realize how much of an idiot you may have been. Full-throttle in the high school experience with your seatbelt safely buckled, you’ll be deep into a period of your life that promotes rapid self-development and change. This time next summer, you will be vastly different and this process will repeat itself every year for a few more years.

But remember, in this life we are pretty much on our own. People will come and go, but at the end of the day, you only have yourself. Do not try to force change, but learn to accept it.

You are a person of such high quality, both inside and out. I truly believe that you will defy society’s expectation for sophomore year.

Love always,

Cat

5 comments

  1. Pingback: My sister’s last first day of high school | Catherine Zhang
  2. Pingback: Sophomoric anticipations | Catherine Zhang
  3. Pingback: Dear Vicky, You’re a junior now… | Catherine Zhang
  4. notsilentnotsorry

    i thought this was really engaging, and i wish i’d read it last year! as an incoming junior, i’d be excited to see what you have to say for your sister this year :)

    Like

  5. Pingback: My 7 Most Read Blog Posts: How Never Stationary Has Changed Over the Years | Catherine Zhang

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