Advice for Rising Sophomores

Springtime at Radford University means a lot of things: studying on the grass instead of inside Young, the looming threat of final exams, and most importantly, the end of yet another fantastic school year. Many of you are part of the class of 2018, and as your freshman year comes to a rapid close, you may be blissfully unaware of the stress that comes with trading in your “freshie” status. The truth is, freshman year is a cakewalk compared to sophomore year. However, with the right group of friends and the right mindset, you can make it a terrific experience.

As a rising junior, I have a few tips that may make your year a little less overwhelming.

Your guide to being a Sophomore at Radford. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Your guide to being a Sophomore at Radford. Graphic by Katie Gibson

1) Never be afraid to change your major.

Seriously. If you’re not happy, change your major. Change your major three times, four times, five times, until you absolutely love where you are. Not everyone has the money to go back to school if they end up hating their career. Make the right decision for you. Pick a major that will get you excited to go to class everyday. Pick a career that will make you look forward to the work week. You only live once; do what makes you happy.

2) Don’t be afraid to let go of your friends from freshman year.

I hate to say it, because it’s always sad when someone you’re close to leaves your life, but some friends aren’t meant to be lifelong friends. Whether you realize it or not, many of your friends freshman year were probably only your friends out of convenience. After all, it’s way easier to keep toxic friendships with people that you met the first week of school in the dorms than it is to venture off  and make new friends. If you ever feel like you have to force a friendship, simply let it go. Life’s too short for drama. Always surround yourself with people that make you genuinely happy.

3) Say “no” to going out sometimes.

Almost everybody is a tad bit rebellious when they start college. Even I found myself out on Light Side the night before a test during freshman year. But freshman year is very different than sophomore year. The workload is lighter, the classes are easier, and the professors are a hell of a lot more understanding when you come down with a sudden case of “the flu” right before a test. IT’S OKAY to stay in on a Wednesday night to study when all of your friends are begging you to go out to a party. IT’S OKAY to choose your school work over your social life- that doesn’t make you a loser. Put school before everything, because school is first and foremost why you’re at Radford .

4) Go to class.

A wise person once told me that going to class is like going to the gym–you never want to go, but you feel so much better having gone than skipping. Once again, you’re here for school — so unless you’re skipping to study for an exam or something of that nature, just suck it up and get yourself to class.

5) Exercise.

Sophomore year is a lot of pressure. You’re expected to declare a major and, essentially, plan your whole life within a single year. On top of that, the workload is heavier, especially if you’re starting into your major classes. Take just an hour a day to go to the gorgeous new gym and sweat some of that stress out. If you don’t, then you’ll wind up eating your feelings.Trust me, if you think the infamous “Freshman Fifteen” was scary, then you don’t even want to know what you’ll look like after a semester of sobbing into cartons of ice cream because you don’t have your life figured out yet.

Like college in general, sophomore year is a weird combination of absolutely terrifying and extremely exciting experiences. You’ll make new friends, find new passions, and explore new things about yourself. Embrace it all, the good and the bad– because despite everything, these are the best four years of our lives.