Lessons from Sophomore Year

Sophomore_Graphic-01As I mentioned in my previous post, Sophomore year of college was quite the doozy—the Spring semester especially. It seemed that I was constantly either at work or doing my homework, with very little time for socializing or sleeping. Several times I felt extremely burnt out and spent a week in bed watching Netflix, dissociating, and not getting much of anything done. As is life.

Between that though, I managed to learn a thing or too. Here’s some of that wisdom:

When they say “overloading” they mean it. At my school, overloading means going of 18 credits, fairly easy when each class is typically 4 each. During the spring semester, in order to graduate on time and go abroad, I decided to take five courses, including two writing courses. Writing has always been my academic bread and butter, but first and foremost quality writing requires time, and between the heavy course load there was little of that to go around. I felt I could have succeeded in either class, but instead I was stretched far too thin and ended up doing mediocre (for me) in both. Hopefully that’s the last time I have to take that many classes again.

Transferring, while worth it, isn’t easy. I would 100% advocate to anyone thinking of transferring schools. However, the process of getting credits sorted and schedules arranged is certainly not easy, and you have to be ready to advocate for yourself. I sent quite a few emails (including one to an assistant dean) appealing, questioning, and begging for a handful of credits to go through. However, doing so prevented me from taking redundant courses in science fields, something that will only be useful for the required credit and never for my career. Speaking of appeals…

Ask. Appeal. Repeat. At any college, especially a large university like mine, there are layers of bureaucracy to get through. There’s always someone to email, always a form you can fill out. You’d be surprised the benefits you receive when you just bother to ask someone for something. For instance, I appealed my financial aid several times throughout the semester, and while it didn’t drastically change my financial situation, the process resulted in several thousand dollars in new grants. A drop in the ocean, sure, but it’s money I didn’t have before and don’t have to pay back. People are also often willing to bend the rules a little or help you out if you take the time to ask them (and be polite about it!).

More than 20 people have been born on Antarctica. Apparently Argentina is pretty serious about their claim. 

Unhappy? Change something. Transferring is one of the best decisions I ever made, but more than that, I took charge of my own happiness. I wanted to try to be more active in making friends instead of laying at home every night (did actually make that many new friends? Not really, but I did try!). I signed up for things outside of my comfort zone, like being a tour guide for the university. I applied and was accepted to be an RA next year. Making money makes me considerably less stressed, so I got a job (though that came with its own problems). On my way home from campus I would have to cross a bridge that spanned that Mass Turnpike, and everyday I would cross that bridge, look out towards the city, and feel truly privileged to be where I was. So incredibly happy to be someplace where people are as passionate, motivated, and engaged in their projects as I am.

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