Sophomore year: the interlude between middle school bliss and high school nightmare

April 2, 2024 — by Annie Liu
Graphic by Annie Liu
Dear sophomores, you are already halfway through!
Utilize this time wisely to balance between enjoyment and hard work.

Freshman year is just a soft opening to high school — sophomore year is the grand opening. For example, Chemistry Honors was eye-opening to me: the pace of the course, rigor and entirely new material revealed the gap between the “smart kids” and the “dumb kids:” It seemed like there was always someone who got high scores effortlessly. As a forewarning, I just want to tell you guys: You’re not dumb. 

Looking back, I wish I didn’t care so much about what others thought of me. As a senior, here are my two cents for how to survive sophomore year with flying colors. 

Don’t take classes just because other people are taking them

My advice to freshmen:  Choose classes you genuinely like and assess how much work you can manage. No one wants to be left out, leading to widespread peer pressure that blurs the line between the subjects you like and dislike. 

While it might sound cliche, you won’t do something you don’t like well. For example, take art if you like art. You’re not going to be a starving artist, and even if you are, at least you’d be a happy starving artist. 

We’re born, taught and prepared to climb up to the peak of the social pyramid. But why get into a good college? Why get money? Is money really  the gateway to a happy life? Wouldn’t it be great if you were doing what you love doing while making money? When you do something you like, you look forward to doing it and you look forward to improving. You are SET to be good at the job, and even better, it will give you the confidence and fulfillment that makes you happy. 

Know your worth 

It is not the end of the world if you get a B, and please do not talk trash about other people’s grades.

It always seems like other people are doing better than you. Well, news flash: Some have already studied or taken the courses before they even took the classes. This will be the case in many classes: Chemistry Honors, AP Computer Science and even World History. One example is Chemistry Honors: Just remember you are where you are supposed to be, and other people are where they are. 

When you get a B, relax; it is completely fine. And if you’re not fine with it, admit that you are struggling, seek help from friends or the teacher, and try utilizing the wellness center’s various calming strategies. WHATEVER YOU GET, DON’T BEAT YOURSELF DOWN. LET ME TELL YOU AGAIN, GRADES DO NOT DEFINE YOU OR YOUR INTELLIGENCE.

Sleep at a reasonable time

Your workload may be a lot heavier than freshman year now, but it shouldn’t be enough work for you to be sleeping at 1 a.m. Sleeping early and waking up at a reasonable time is setting yourself up for a productive and happy day. You don’t want bags under your eyes, yes? 

Definitely do a sport if you’re athletic enough. If not, join a club. 

Joining a sports team really helped provide a sense of belonging in a community. You don’t have to be particularly good at the sport; you just need to try hard and make friends. Clubs are also great places for you to meet like-minded people and learn new skills. 
Sophomore year is not the time to look back at middle school years and say “life was so much better back then” yet. Rather, it is the time to enjoy yourself before you sell your soul to the devil in junior year, so take advantage of the not so cut-throat workload as of now. Stay confident and know you’re exactly where you are supposed to be and accept it. Relax and be kind.

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