• chantalmcanales

To My Future Sophomore Self, Learn A Lesson From The Less-Prepared Version Of You

This is it. This time around, you actually know what you are doing at college. Congrats! You have figured out where your classes and lectures are held, where the best food on campus is, and you have a group of friends that you love and trust.

But as you move back to Waco, remember what you learned during your freshman year, and how you felt when you arrived at Baylor for the first time as a college student.

Last year when you came to Baylor, you were scared out of your mind. You only knew a few people here and you had no idea how to handle the stresses of college. You arrived at a fluorescent-lit and tiny dorm room, with so many ideas of how you would decorate your walls with cute travel posters and motivational quotes. You didn't even think about the actual school part when you moved here, and how hard it would be.

You didn't know everything in the beginning. And that was OK.

But you learned. You learned how to study after not having to for four years of high school. You figured where you belong, with a group of girls that make you realize how lucky you are to feel accepted and loved. You aced your mid-terms (for the most part), cracked down on textbook readings, and finally ended your year with the stress of finals and survived.

When you walk across campus this time as a sophomore, recognize how blessed you are to go to school at Baylor. A place where you can go to class and run into at least three people you know. A place where the professors know you by name and where they want to do everything they can to support your academic career.

Take some advice from someone who learned about college the hard way.

This time, when you see a timid freshman looking lost on their way to their intro to biology class, stop.

Stop and help them.

You wish someone would have stopped and helped you when you were trying to figure out where your classes were held on the first day of college. In a place where everyone is in their own little world, focused on their agenda and no one else's, starting your first day as a freshman can be scary, so do them a favor and direct them where they need to go.

This time, when you see someone you know sitting alone in the dining hall, eating solo for the first time, ask them if they would like some company.

Make someone's day and eat with them.

Last year you were alone for the first time in your life. The constant company of your family was a luxury left behind at home. You wished that you had someone to eat with during those first days, and you know what it feels like to feel so isolated. Sit with them and ask them about their day over dinner in the dining hall.

This time, don't waste hours scrolling on your phone when you could be studying. You spent too much time glazing over Instagram and Twitter that you often spent nights trying to cram information into your head and writing up papers until the early hours of the morning.

For your grades and your sanity, learn from the mistakes I made.

As a sophomore, you are going to want to show off all the tips and tricks you learned during your freshman year. You think you know everything now, but you don't. You can learn so much in one year, but there is so much that has yet to be learned. Sure, you know how to best prepare for an exam and you know that you only need to leave about 15 minutes to make it to that 9 a.m. class.

But just remember, one year ago, you were so lost and you knew nothing.

Think about how much you are going to learn this upcoming year as a sophomore. Maybe this time, you will learn to finally get a 4.0 GPA (most likely no, but give it a shot). Try to meet more people this time and introduce yourself to more residents in your dorm. Be confident in who you are and help others who are not so sure of themselves. Feel comfortable enough to reach out when you need help.

I'm no expert in the world that is college, but I know that we are fighting a constant battle balancing academics, a social life, and your well-being. Spend time at the beginning of the semester to set up a real schedule, one that allocates fixed times to study, to eat, to sleep, and to mindlessly watch The Office for the millionth time. Take care of yourself, because guess what?

College is tough. But so are you.


Your Enlightened Freshman Self