The end of another great year is upon us, and as everything winds down to final projects, papers, exams, and abundant last-minute senior sales, I cannot help but reflect on the moments that defined my sophomore year.
These past two semesters were filled with ups and downs, each week as volatile and capricious as an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. You see, sophomore year is an interesting and slightly awkward transition from the beautiful naivety of your first year in college to the stress and ambiguity of entering real-world territory as an upperclassman. Yet it is enjoyable nonetheless. Every student’s experience is different, of course, but there are certain revelations and minuscule details with which I feel every second year student can relate. So to finish off my writing career as a second-year student and to continue my trend of creating lists of gifs, I present to you the top six things you should know about sophomore year:
1.) You choose your major (and it’s really underwhelming)
Declaring you major may be somewhat of a big deal at other colleges where it can be more competitive to enter certain fields. Here at Pomona, you sign a piece of paper and BAM! You’re an Economics major. For me, after handing over my document, I remember having this fleeting feeling of elation followed by the very sarcastic thought of “Wellp, that was disappointing”.
2.) Classes get hard
Sophomore year is when you move past the adorable introductory classes and start taking the more difficult and intimidating courses. Depending on your field of interest, this could mean Organic Chemistry (known to its victims as O-Chem), Macroeconomic Theory, or Differential Equations, among others. However, as the great Tom Hanks once said, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy everyone would do it.”
3.) Sometimes you just have to go to Disneyland instead of studying
This is a little specific, but the big picture is that “life is too important to be taken seriously” (Oscar Wilde). College is not strictly about your GPA, long nights at the library, or even acing your latest midterm. It’s also about spontaneous trips to get boba with your suite-mate, sitting in the dining hall for 3 hours laughing with friends, having lunch and talking about politics with your professor, and having fun while finding your way in this crazy world. (You do have to study, though, so don’t go overboard).
4.) You need to prioritize
As you start narrowing your focus, you have to determine which activities are worth continuing. When prioritizing, I look at all the clubs, groups, jobs and such that I have joined and ask myself: (1.) Am I getting something out of this? (2.) Will I better myself if I continue this? and most importantly (3.) Does this make me happy? In retrospect, the last question is probably the only answer you really need to know. If any if these get a negative response, however, it may be time to put that activity aside, even if only for now. Additionally, as much as I am a proponent of fun times, I think it is equally important to make sure that none of your extracurriculars or social outings are interfering with your education.
5.) You have to actually work
Jobs and internships — they sound gross, but they become unfortunately necessary. The key is to get one that relates to something you are interested in or passionate about, and in order to do, that you’d better start your applications waaaaaaaaay early. Applications for spring internships are due in the fall; summer applications are due in January. Pomona helps a lot with this, as I know a lot of individuals who will be doing undergraduate research at Pomona this summer through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP).
6.) Studying abroad is real
One of the many blessings of attending a liberal arts college is its strong encouragement of foreign study, and this is the year where you get to decide whether or not that prospect appeals to you. I, for one, am ecstatic to be taking my academic career abroad to Australia this upcoming year, where I will study economics and media studies in Melbourne! I cannot wait to embrace a wallaby and impress the native students with my exotic accent. In fact, next time I report will probably be in preparation for the land down under! Until then,