Sophomore year of college was a crazy and eventful one. I learned a lot.
Here are 10 pieces of advice I wanted to pass along that should be helpful to students entering any year of college.
1. Stay in touch with friends from home
This probably gets harder each year. Your friends from home might be scattered around the country. And not only that, they’re also living busy lives. It can be easy to fall out of touch, but it’s worth it to put in that little bit of effort and shoot them a message every now and then.
Don’t be surprised if most of your friends decide to stick around their schools during the summer to work or to do research, too. It’s tough, but if it’s a relationship worth keeping, then make sure you put in the effort.
2. Start thinking about what you want to do over the summer...early
Before winter break, think about what you want to do over the summer: Intern? Work? Volunteer? Travel?
Yes, summer is a great time to relax, but it’s also a great time to add to your resume and have some memorable life experiences. Part-time work would be a perfect balance between work and play.
If you do decide to pick up an internship/job over the summer, make sure to start the search nice and early. Attend job/internship fairs, search postings online, and follow this next piece of advice.
3. Take advantage of the career center
The majority of schools should have a career center available to undergrads. Make full use of it! The cost should already be covered in your tuition. Ask for help with searching for jobs/internships, get your resume and cover letters checked out, and take advantage of mock interviews. It’ll really help you put your best foot forward.
4. Learn how to take rejection and know that it's OK
There’s a decent chance that you will get turned down for an internship or a job. I was. At more places than I’d care to admit. But it’s OK. You learn something from each rejection and should try to improve for the next opportunity.
After getting rejected from corporate internships, I turned to the start-up world and am so, so glad I did because I found Testive and am having the absolute best experience interning here.
And even if you don’t get an offer from anywhere, you can still make the most of your summer by volunteering, tutoring, or taking some summer classes (maybe abroad!).
5. Make some memories
Try to make the most out of college life by getting out of your comfort zone and making memories with your friends. My friends and I have a white bed sheet that hung on one of our walls last year. We wrote down hilarious quotes one another said that we wanted to remember. The time one of my friends explained that she wrung out her wet hair in a trashcan because she “didn’t want to get her towels wet” will now never be forgotten.
6. Study what you want to study
This is pretty self-explanatory: try to take classes in the subjects you’re actually interested in. I’ve always liked math, but since I wasn’t required to take any math classes freshman year I realized that, oddly enough, I missed math. So, I added a math minor and am very happy about that decision (so far).
7. Take classes that sound interesting
If a class sounds interesting to you and there’s room in your schedule, go for it! Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a newfound passion and wind up changing majors. Even if you don’t, you’ll still learn lots of new useful information. I took Psychology as a Social Science for an elective, and even though I’m still not a psych major, I learned so much fascinating information that comes up often in day-to-day life.
8. Dining hall food gets old fast
It can be so exciting having so many options available to you, but WOW, dining hall food gets old super old fast. I spent the majority of sophomore year eating the same three or four meals every, single, day. My only advice here is to get a little creative and try something new. I found that combining avocados and baked chips creates a fantastic combination (that FYI, is even better with a dash of soy sauce).
9. People do not get cleaner the longer time goes on
If you read my 10 Things I Learned my Freshman Year post, you may remember my complaining about how surprisingly disgusting people can be in the communal bathrooms. Well, it turns out this is not a situation that improves with time. If anything, people might just get grosser. Again, lower your standards. That might just be the only way to survive another year.
10. Know how much you can handle
Be careful not to overextend yourself. After being a bit of a hermit freshman year, I suddenly decided to join everything sophomore year. I got a job, started volunteering, joined an executive board for a club, and overall just got more involved with various organizations and activities on campus.
All of a sudden it got very overwhelming. Alas, life is all about finding balance (she says as she stays up until midnight writing this blog post during a lakeside vacation).