I wrote an Instagram post a year ago today. I wrote a long Instagram post (before I even had this blog) as if I was writing to my freshman self. The beginning of August means that the countdown begins and college starts in less than a month. Last year in August, I was flooded with memories of what I experienced before starting my freshman year, and I wrote to her. I wrote her ten points of advice; ten things I wished I would have known going into my freshman year; ten things that I realized only by surviving it.
So here I am on August 1, reflecting back to a year ago as I prepared to go into my sophomore year. I’ve already written a post about my sophomore year and what the Lord taught me, but I wanted to write to my sophomore self. I hope that this speaks to someone out there, and that you share it to anyone you know who is about to embark on their sophomore year of college.
You think you’ve got this college thing figured out don’t ya. I know you feel refreshed after a summer at home and are so excited to get back to the friends that you made last year. So many things to look forward to, adventures to have and so much more confidence than you had freshman year – it should be a piece of cake right? I’ve got some words for you little miss “I can do whatever I put my mind to” haha.
- Humble yourself – man, Adelyn please humble yourself. Just because you finished one year and made it, doesn’t mean that you are an expert. There are so many new challenges and circumstances you will face this year that go way beyond what you faced last year. I’m proud of that you made it through your freshman year, but you’ve got to realize that there is still so much to learn.
- Prepare yourself for new terrain – stepping back into college after your freshman year is like riding a bike. Your body will know what to do and you will get the hang of it all again (yes, even though you didn’t do any school this summer and you feel like you forgot how to hold a pencil). But here’s the thing, the flat road you learned to ride that bike on last year has changed drastically. There are hills, curves, flat tires, and falls ahead; this is a whole new terrain. So pick up that bike and get in the groove, but realize that you will be challenged in whole new ways this year.
- Get a bike – speaking of bikes, you should get one. Haha, it doesn’t have to be a bike, just be active! Life is a lot better when you move around and do things other than study for hours in the library. Ride your bike around campus, walk the stairs instead of the elevator, join the intramural volleyball team! And find some friends to be active with you. There isn’t anything like turning weird shades of pink and sweating together to really solidify a friendships.
- People change – you have grown so much in the last year, but you are still growing. This also includes your close friends. Please realize that sometimes freshman year is just one version of someone, and that sophomore year is often when people come back and want to change the way they did things last year. Please be patient with your friends as you experience these growing pains. And also, realize that some friendships are seasonal. Your best friend last year, may not be your best friend this year – and that’s ok. There are so many more friends to be made. But please fight for your friends. Last year was fun and exciting but you may experience some bumps in the road as you tackle another year of more developed friendships. So fight for the people you love, and be patient with yourself and with them as you continue to grow and develop into the people you are becoming.
- Keep trying new things!! – just because you finally feel comfortable at your school and are so glad you have made some solid friends, do not stop there. Keep putting yourself out there and making new friends (especially with the freshman, omg I love freshman). You still have so many more places to go, people to meet and things to experience so don’t let freshman year be the end of the newness.
- Befriend freshman – this will be one of your best decisions. Not only do you get to make friends with more lovely people, full of energy and excitement, but you also gain new perspective. You grow so much as a freshman and having one around you reminds you to keep growing as a sophomore. I am so thankful for my friends that I made and for the way they love me. Man, they love me so well. And you know what, the fact that they look up to me made me work even harder to be someone worthy of that sort of respect. So befriend a freshman. And do not treat them like they are less than or that their age matters. They are people, and just because you have one year under your belt…. well, see point 1.
- Do not belittle yourself – it’s super easy to do this freshman year because you feel like the bottom of the food chain… and you kind of are. But listen to me Adelyn, do not make yourself small. It is time to be bold and start challenging yourself to reach new heights. Take that experience and confidence and use it to reach farther, run faster and jump higher. Be bold!! Ask about that internship, sell your art at the farmer’s market, sign up for study abroad, go talk to your professor about research, and make friends with that senior. I know you are worried about failing, but how can you even succeed if you don’t put yourself out there. You matter and your voice needs to be heard. So use it.
- You are not alone – the sophomore slump is real. Suddenly college is not a fun camp anymore and paying for groceries and being away from family really sucks. But you are not alone. Those friendships that you have built are there for a reason. They are your makeshift family and so lean on them. Get over yourself and ask for help if you need it. Friendships become so much sweeter when you are vulnerable and real with one another and allow each other to experience the highs and lows of life.
- It’s ok to have down time – omg, Adelyn calm down. You do not need to be doing something 24/7. In fact, you will go crazy if you are “on” all the time. You won’t be the little engine that could if you don’t have any gas in your engine. You need to condition yourself to rest in the down time, and in fact, I encourage you to make some. Make some time for yourself to just exist. It can look different for everyone but create some intentional time to “turn off”.
- Find creative ways to spend time with the Lord – yes, your 8ams make it hard to read your Bible in the morning; yes, studying keeps you up way too late and you are slumped by the time you hit the bed. But do not neglect your time with the Lord. Find creative ways that you can spend some intentional time with God. That long walk to main campus from your dorm? Spend that time in prayer. That beautiful sun that sets every evening? Go watch it with Him.