This year is about being more goal-oriented and productive, but without donning the misleading and overly optimistic rose-filtered glasses I wore as a freshman. This year, it’s about being more fiscally conservative, self-sufficient and independent.
I moved into my new apartment last weekend with Lisette, and wow, having a full week to get situated was amazing. This is also the first time I’ve been around campus without any academic obligations. We were blessed with amazing weather (mid 80’s with wind and sun), so we all sat by the lakefill and buried our friends in the sand at the beach. I felt motivated to go to the gym, cook every night, and meet up and catch up with friends I haven’t seen in months.
I’m excited for sophomore year because while I have some degree of that freshman freedom to explore and experiment with academics, extracurriculars and career paths, I have a better idea of what I want to study here and am more familiar with what the school has to offer. I just have to take the proper steps to prepare myself.
Moving off campus has given me a greater sense of independence for the time being. I made a lot of my close friends through the dorm I lived in, but leaving that environment will challenge me to keep in touch. I am confident that I will make time and effort to see them and hear about their days.
Being away from school has been beneficial. I’ve been able to voice my opinions about my studies to my parents, evaluate my interests and recalibrate. I needed a break!
I’m reminded of the letter I wrote to my sister for her sophomore year of high school. I began by defining “sophomoric” as:
having or showing a lack of emotional maturity: foolish and immature
Except, for college students thrown into a more competitive environment, this is less true, because most of us are more mature than we were in high school. We have glimpsed the severity of the real world, of unemployment and bad luck.
I’m waiting for the realizations to flood in about how foolish and immature I was in my first year. I ate badly, neglected exercise, and developed an unproductive sleep schedule. I gained some weight as a result of this, and my body felt tired and lethargic more often than not. I also wasted way too much money on really unimportant things.
But, already I can sense that some people are ready to approach college in a slightly different way. They’re a tad more serious and focused about everything. Friends, academics, relationships, exercise, spending habits, healthy eating…at least, this is what I’m seeing from the first few days. Who knows if these mindsets will persist through the year?
One point I agree with is that I will become more picky about who I’m friends with. I want reliable, trustworthy, dependable people by my side to keep me motivated and focused in the right direction. I don’t want to lose my way and get caught up in having fun in the moment.
I advised my sister to “adopt some sort of cultured reading habit” but I myself have neglected this advice. I hope that this will change, because my roommate and I just got library cards from the local public library. Now, I know NU has great resources, but they are simply lacking in the fiction department, which is what really gets me riled up.
I spent last Saturday afternoon reading The Help in the quiet reading section, and I lost myself in a way I hadn’t in months. I am excited to finish the book, watch the movie adaptation, and continue checking out moving and thought-provoking books.
Who else is excited for sophomore year?