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5 Tips to Making the Most of Sophomore Year

By Thomas Noone - Cornell University - NextGenVest Global Ambassador - Hartsdale, NY

The freshmen year jitters are gone but the junior year fear hasn’t quite set in. Excel at being a sophomore with 5 tips to make the most of this year.Congratulations on completing your first year of high school! This accomplishment brings with it feelings of joy and pride and, sometimes, even some anxiety and stress. You may be nervous about what challenges the rest of high school may bring, feel like you’re on top of the world, or maybe you’re still basking in the relief of acing your first high school final exams.  No matter where you are on the satisfied sophomore spectrum, take a look at these 5 pieces of advice so you can do your best this upcoming year.

Broaden your horizons.

Right now, your main priority is to grow in learning. This is the year with the least amount of pressure, believe it or not. You already had a year to get accustomed to high school and college application worries have not yet begun to bear down on you.  Use this time to take elective courses you find interesting or sign up for a just-for-fun extracurricular (extreme dodgeball anyone?). In doing so, you could discover a passion for a subject you may not have had before, forge strong relationships with teachers, and learn new skills that can translate to other areas (namely, fast reflexes).

Look for leadership positions.

Presidents of clubs and team captains tend to be filled by juniors and seniors, but that doesn’t mean you cannot play a leadership role.  Look to fill junior offices, like Treasurer or Secretary that, while not running the show, still have important responsibilities and can lead to higher positions.  When an upperclassman needs assistance, you’ll be the first person he/she turns to.  The more you do now, the more you will be entrusted with later in your high school career.

Don’t jump into the college process.

Sophomore year is a time to thrive in your academic pursuits; the college search is not your first priority.  That’s a mountain you can climb junior and senior year. With that said, if an older sibling is going on college visits and you want to tag along, feel free.  If admissions officers are coming to your school for a college fair and you want to explore the booths, don’t hesitate to attend.  Just don’t go nuts with the college process at the expense of your grades.

Pay It Forward.

Interesting fact: the word “sophomore” comes from the Greek words sophos, “wise” and moros, “foolish” - essentially translating to “wise fool.”  While you should be proud of your accomplishments thus far, having completed your first year of high school, don’t rest on your laurels just yet. Use your newfound knowledge and wisdom on how to conquer high school, impress teachers, and stay on top of your class work by assisting the freshmen that are just becoming acclimated to high school life. That’s right, no need to bully freshmen! Continue your time in high school with confidence that you will succeed but don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Develop and strengthen your friendships.

I think this is the best piece of advice I can give.  Because this is the year with the least amount of pressure, you can enjoy the time with your friends.  Make the most of your free time, get to know new people, and solidify the friendships you already have. Maybe this means going to some of your school’s sporting events, getting lunch with a classmate on a Friday afternoon, or forming study groups with your peers.  Whatever you decide to do with your friends, make it worthwhile and, with any luck, the memories and friendships will last a lifetime.