Sophomore Year Sucks
It’s all the rites with none of the passage.
By Juliana Neves, Loyola University
Face it: Babies are cute and teenagers are intimidating, but sophomore years are neither of those things.
They’re the collegiate version of a pubescent—somehow too young and too old to matter. Doesn’t that sound like it sucks? It does.
One of the worst things about sophomore year is that a lot of people still assume you’re a freshman, which is like social double jeopardy. The only thing that’s worse than being treated like a freshman is being treated like a freshman when you’re a sophomore.
So if you’re like me and can still order off the kid’s menu, then go ahead and prepare yourself: You’re going to be mistaken for a child by the upperclassmen giants whose planes of vision you don’t even show up in.
Plus, since you’re still not an upperclassman, the hazing-ish parts of college that you accepted as freshman rites of passage have lost all their luster by sophomore year.
If you had to relinquish your cafeteria seat as a freshmen—oh well, that’s life, you’re a freshman. It’s a protection payment to the mafia: You don’t want to do it, but you also like your kneecaps unbroken. It’s the same way with crappy class registration times freshman year. They’re a rite of passage that everyone just has to suck up and accept. There’s even something beautiful about the collective suffering.
But when sophomore year rolls around and your registration time still isn’t good, it’s just marginally less shitty, that “rite of passage” propaganda loses its appeal immediately. You better believe a strongly worded email is being sent to someone in a position of power.
And even though you don’t yet enjoy any of the upperclassmen privileges, all your underclassman ones disappear. Which means you have nothing.
You can’t make mistakes anymore and use your freshman ignorance as an excuse. “Oh, sorry, I’m a freshman” got me out of anything last year. The naïve, baby deer stereotype isn’t a crutch—it’s an asset. If you weren’t using it, you weren’t living.
Last year when I couldn’t find a classroom or didn’t know how to do the coin laundry thing, I just prefaced my question with “I’m a freshman,” and a sense of pity washed over whomever I was talking to and I could immediately control them. There was a small chance that the person would respond “So am I,” and then we’d have a blind-leading-blind situation, but you just live with that.
Also, as a sophomore, everyone expects that you know everything, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. If I pride myself in having never stepped in a particular building, and all of a sudden have a class in that building, how am I expected to navigate numberless doors and staircases that skip floors? Tough titty. If you’re not a freshman, you should have it figured out.
To make things worse, your quality of home life has dropped too. After a year of adjusting to the intestinal roller-coaster that is cafeteria food, now you have to switch back to home-cooking. And while home-cooking might sound amazing, it actually means that on top of everything else you’re doing, you are now completely responsible for feeding yourself for the first time in your life. In more ways than one, things go sour quickly.
When you’ve only perfected making cereal, ramen and chicken if you’re feeling fancy, food becomes more of a challenge than a reward. The probability of fire alarms going off in upperclassmen buildings skyrockets, as everyone’s mac n’ cheese is really just potential kindling. You’ll begin to regret not taking Home Ec more seriously as your stove slowly begins to smoke.
And then there’s the milk in the back of the fridge that you forgot about. You know it has to be rotten by now, but you don’t dare wake the sleeping giant behind the Hot Pockets. For now, you let it sleep until someone else is forced into action by the prolonged olfactory torture.
And remember all that crap they preach about how being “Undecided” or “Exploratory” is perfectly normal? Well that’s over too.
After a year of wandering aimlessly, you are smacked in the face with declarations of majors and must-do-now study abroad applications. What’s worse is that all the easy classes you had freshman year are gone too. Dreams of a 4.0 don’t seem ridiculous when your college classes are like Night School: The Sequel, but come sophomore year the entire staff is on an unspoken mission to teach you nothing and encourage you to drop out.
Classes are infinitely more stressful, but since you’re no longer a freshman everyone expects you to deal with it.
Apparently someone decided that during the summer after freshmen year an epiphany strikes every undecided student and they suddenly know What They Want to Do.
So your academic life sucks and you’re malnourished from your inability to feed yourself—but hey, at least you’ve got your friends.
Things fall apart.
Last year everyone cared more about quantity that quality. Everyone wanted to be friends with everybody, and since people were trying to reinvent themselves, everyone was a phony. People put up with each other for the sake of not sitting alone at lunch, because face it—no one is themselves freshmen year of college.
But faking it gets exhausting and being friendly to everyone becomes overrated. People start to show their true colors. And what does that rainbow of colors look like, you ask? Introverted, agitated, and pessimistic.
You can’t blame them; being social for a whole year is exhausting. So, when sophomore year rolls around, people just don’t want to hang out anymore. Former-friends become recluses, hiding away with Netflix and Pop Tarts, and overcoming your bed’s siren song on Friday night becomes nearly impossible.
As your friends change all around you, it becomes clear that your freshmen-year friends suck and you want a new group. Good luck. Friend groups begin to solidify sophomore year, which makes it much tougher to get into another group. Now you’re stuck friendless forever.
In short, sophomore has nothing going for it as a year. It’s like the boring child in a family. Freshmen year got the brains, junior year got the athleticism and senior year got the looks, but sophomore year is the stamp-collecting, Audubon-joining oddball. It has to be there, but it has no enjoyable characteristics or redeeming qualities.