The same air terminal, the same flights, the same rapid, the same stop, but oh how different could Sophomore year be. I'm no longer asking where to go check in, but rather if the friends I made last year have moved in yet. As a sophomore, I have moved past the "roommate" and upgraded to the "suitemate." 6 of them to be exact: 3 guys, 3 girls, 1 bathroom. I have moved past that welcome week phase where the only sentence you really say is "Hi, my name is Kevin. What's your name... It's nice to meet you, [insert name here]" (and then promptly forget that person's name). I have moved past finding friends and my identity. I have moved to southside, top of the hill, up the elephant stairs that so many people despise. Most of all, I have moved up the social ladder of college into Sophomore year.
I've heard stories of it. A lot of people, especially nurses, say that this is the hardest year (8 hour clinicals a the Cleveland Clinic to say the least). It's the hill everyone has to climb. This hill is, of course, filled with decisions. More specifically, decisions about your major and whether or not you like it, love it, or hate it. This is the time where your classes start getting real. There's no more Freshmen Forgiveness (all freshmen can drop their class at any time during the school year and not get penalized for it), so you must be careful of what classes you sign up for. Any mistakes now, and it will be forever engraved into that singular sheet of paper that lists four years of your academic accomplishments (or failures). It's the time for you to buckle down, get your act together, and start working towards your future.
So, the first month came and went. My future was the last thing on my mind. I was more worried about having enough food in the suite for my midnight cravings (4 boxes of ramen and a $27 case of peach green tea did the trick), attending weekly executive meetings (Asian American Alliance), planning social mixers (Phi Kappa Psi), and looking for jobs (I work for SOURCE as a graphic designer now) than the first pharmacology exam, of which I got a C on. Great way to start off the semester eh? The thing was, I planned for these distractions. I enrolled myself in 13 credit hours, 1 more than the minimum required hours to be a full-time student. Yet, at the same time, I'm typing this post at 4AM in the morning, the day of my 30 minute presentation on Electrification for my SAGES (Technology in Society). What am I doing with my life you ask? I'm living it to the fullest while sacrificing my sleep and my sanity.
And that is what makes Sophomore year different. You hit the ground running and you don't stop. You don't have to use your time looking for friends, majors, clubs because you already have them. Most of all, you've already built that foundation of who you are on campus: the things you're affiliated with, the reputation amongst your friends, the study habits and the grades you normally get. You've taken a year to realize who you are, and now it's time to worry about accomplishing your goals and working towards the future.
I always wondered what it would be like to not see my parents everyday. How it would be like to eat whatever, whenever. How it would be like to not have a parental alarm clock to tell you when to get up and go to class. How it would be like to do anything I want without the supervision of my parents…
Then I came to college. I loved the freedom that came with moving out of state. I was finally completely independent (relatively speaking… there was of course the occasional phone call from me to them to ask for money, and from my parents to me to check up on my grades, health, etc.). The decisions I made finally shaped me the way I wanted. The freedom was at first hard to grasp. I found myself often calling home for permission to buy books and such, but with time, I started depending on my own judgment to secure the best deals and save money. I guess I realized the extent of my freedom when I received a bid (invitation) this week from Phi Kappa Psi, one of the fraternities on campus. I would never have thought that I would be able to make such a big decision on my own. But I did, and I feel like I've grown so much since the beginning of the school year. I guess that's what college did to me.
Anywho… this post was originally supposed to be about the residential life in college. At my bid dinner, I sat across a brother and we had a nice conversation. When we headed back, I discovered he lived two doors down from me. That's what I love about res life. You get to meet new people everyday, even half way through the school year.
Yet, one of the few things I regret was not choosing to live in the Mistletoe Residential College. Consisting of Hitchcock, Storrs, and Pierce dorms, Mistletoe is the unique residential college, primarily due to the living arrangements. Floors are co-ed, yet separated by sexes so that the boys live on one side of the floor, while the girls live on the other. Rooms are arranged in quads, with 5 rooms to a quad. Two common rooms branch the quads to promote interaction among floormates. The rest of the residential colleges (Juniper and Cedar) have living arrangements much like that of a hotel, in which rooms are side by side, surrounding a communal bathroom (for a more detailed floor plan, visit http://studentaffairs.case.edu/living/facilities/tour/). Because of the ways rooms are structured, people in Mistletoe always seem to be a lot closer than those living in Juniper or Cedar. One thing that I wanted when I came to Case was to meet as many different people as possible. I felt that living in Mistletoe would've facilitated my goal much more than living in the other residential colleges. So learn from me… finish your paperwork as soon as possible, find a roommate that's compatible (much more important than living in mistletoe), and get crakin' on your new student checklist (which is quite fun.. seeing all those checkmarks makes me feel productive during the summer, which rarely happens).