09/12/2013 11:01 am ET Updated Nov 12, 2013

Why Your Sophomore Year Will Be So Much Better

Whenever August rolls around, retail marketing aims straight at the first year college student, with their over-the-top promotions for command strips and multicolored plastic storage bins. Article after article is published with a variety of tips for surviving freshman year. There's talk among the upcoming class about how "totally awesome" Summer C was and how "totally smashed" everyone got. However, little is said about those beginning their second year of college. The step-above-freshman status is one that is incredibly underrated in every aspect. Below is a short, comprehensive list of reasons why being a sophomore is kind of awesome:

  1. You actually know your way around campus. I desperately tried to avoid being that freshman that wanders around with a giant map spread in front of them, squinting up at buildings to figure out if they're at Strozier and, if so, how they can get to the Union from there. Unfortunately, it doesn't' matter how many hours you study the campus map over summer or if you have the FSU Mobile App, the only way to learn is by being there every weekday, getting lost once and awhile, and being that awkward kid who asks an upperclassman for directions to a building that is less than 100 feet away. Now that you're a sophomore, you can strut around with confidence, shaking your head at the new kid who slips and falls on the painted sidewalk. Doesn't she know how slippery it is when it rains? How embarrassing for her, seriously.
  2. You're not living in a dorm. Living in a dorm room is one of those rite of passage things that your parents force you to go through because they think it builds character. I must say that nothing builds character more than being consistently locked out of your bathroom, being disturbed in the middle of the night by a drunk roommate, or waking up to a man you've never seen passed out on your rug. I'm not going to act like I didn't have my bad roommate moments, but having zero privacy and learning to share with someone you don't know is one of the worst things that could happen. Then there's Suwannee, which seems like a good idea at first, with it's delicious cinnamon roles and all-you-can-eat pizza, but 15 pounds and several months of turkey-lettuce-provolone-hummus wraps later, you're willing to sell your soul for a home cooked meal. Look at you now, upperclassman, sitting pretty in your fancy apartment or townhome, with your own bedroom, living with people you (most likely) enjoy being around. You even get to cook and clean up after yourself! Well, it can't all be good, but at least you're learning to be independent, right?
  3. You know your limits and you don't feel the need to meet them so frequently. Everyone embarrasses themselves at least once as a freshman. You just get so excited about freedom and easy access to illegal things that you become this crazy person that makes bad decisions at an alarming rate. For some reason, it takes a full year of puking, headaches, falling on your face, and occasional emergency room visits to realize that maybe you should chill on the booze chugging, bowl smoking, and pill popping for a bit. Being a sophomore doesn't mean you have the social life of your 80-year-old grandmother, it just shows that you've reached the realization that fun can be had without feeling like you've been hit with a bat the morning after.
  4. You have friends and can make new ones more easily. You've had a full year to develop relationships with those in your classes, dorm halls, sororities, fraternities, clubs, athletic teams, and that one guy who's always in Starbucks when you are. You've held onto your close friends from high school, but getting close with these new people will expand and diversify your college experience. Once you meet one person who thinks you're pretty cool, they'll introduce you to their friends, and so on until you have multiple groups of people that you can hang out with. As a grown up sophomore, you've realized that having just a few good friends is better than having a ton of unintelligent losers who'll buy you alcohol and leave you at a club by yourself. Now, I'm a sophomore like you, but I've been told that the friends we make in college are the ones we have for a lifetime. Assuming that this is the case, be sure to surround yourself with friends who'll be there for the long haul.
  5. You've found your true identity, or at least started to. College is the first time you're on your own and making your own decisions. You might not pay for your housing or tuition, but you're the one in charge of your future. By the time you've reached sophomore year, you've let go of high school and the part of you that's associated with it. That former self stayed with you throughout freshman year, but now you've finally reached that point when you know that you're someone entirely new. The moment when you tell people your ambition is to be an English professor rather than you were captain of your dance team in high school; when you tell others what you're like through the books, movies, and music that you like instead of what clubs you used to be involved in. There's no longer a need to give out meaningless facts about yourself; you've figured out who you are and who you want to be, and you're ready to share it with everyone you come in contact with. Beginning sophomore year is setting the foundation for the rest of your life, so make the most of it.

By Brittany Taman, Florida State University