Rachel in front of Kissam where she will be living this year. (Photo by Emily Gonçalves)
Rachel in front of Kissam where she will be living this year. (Photo by Emily Gonçalves)

Sophomore Spotlight: Looking Ahead

I'm kicking off my column with my goals and stresses for my second year on campus

August 18, 2019

I can’t believe how quickly the summer flew by after an interesting first year at Vandy, filled with unexpected meetings and many valuable learning experiences. Thinking about beginning my second year led me to reflect on what I have for the upcoming school year, and piqued my curiosity regarding whether certain widely circulated upperclassmen tidbits are true. Is it true that Kissam– my dorm this upcoming year– is the loneliest upperclassmen dorm? Is it fact or fiction that people lose contact with their first-year besties pretty quickly? 

Pondering these potential new changes, I thought it would be fun to kick off my sophomore column by listing out some of my current thoughts and anticipations about my second year at Vandy. Also, if you’re wondering, yes, my first-year column can still be found on The Hustler website! Please feel free to share it with any incoming first-years you know who may find it helpful. Now, without further ado: 

My Sophomore Year Goals: 

  • I wrote about how valuable and rewarding reaching out to my fellow peers was in my first-year column. The college environment is unique because I am constantly surrounded by incredible, talented and interesting people. I find it so easy to forget that there are so many brilliant peers I can get to know and learn from. Even though I won’t be a first-year anymore, I want to keep reaching out to new people.
  • It’s not always rainbows and roses in college, especially when I have to take a tedious and challenging class that isn’t my forte. However, every experience, even the “bad” ones, will play a part in shaping me into who I’m meant to be. Undergrad only comes once in a lifetime, so I want to do my best to enjoy and savor the unique undergraduate experience, with all its ups and downs. 
  • I’m already nostalgic about last year thinking about all the new first-years currently making Commons theirs, attending orientation activities and getting to know their Visions groups. Remembering how foreign Vanderbilt felt initially, I want to be a friendly upperclassman that seeks to make everyone, especially new first-years, feel welcome at Vandy. 
  • As tempting as it may be to shrink into my own corner of campus, whether that be only hanging out with a certain group of people or only taking classes from a certain department, I want to fight that tendency. I want to strive to keep an open mind, and continue looking for new learning experiences and opportunities. I don’t want to become stagnant and to settle into a routine. There’s still so much left to discover!

Anticipatory changes to upperclassmen living v.s. the first-year bubble:

  • Is it lonely? I’ve heard from various upperclassmen that having friends scattered across campus in different upperclassmen dorms makes it harder to hang out effortlessly like last year. I’m lucky that I will be sharing a suite with my friends this year, but I’m concerned that it’ll become much harder to branch out and continue to make new friends. I don’t want to stop reaching out to others and getting to know new people on a deeper level like last year. 
  • For most sophomores, including myself, schedules becomes more focused and restricted as we all begin to focus on fulfilling courses for their majors. It saddened me to hear that there tends to be increasingly less time for exploration and “just for fun” courses. Personally, I think taking random courses is what makes the undergraduate educational experience so fun and special. I hope I don’t end up boxed in academically with no wiggle room to learn just for the heck of it! 
  • One of the perks of being an upperclassman is that Vanderbilt feels more and more like home. Not to say that everything is completely familiar yet, but it feels comfortable, and just right, to be back. I’m excited to see the Vandy squirrels and bunnies running around, to catch up with old friends over a Rand bowl and to order a Caprese panini at Grins again. 
  • I’ve been forewarned of the “sophomore trap,” which some upperclassmen have described as taking on way too many extracurriculars and leadership responsibilities after having a more relaxed first year. Although I’ve kept this in the back of my head, I think I have already overcommitted this year- oops! Despite this, I hope I won’t feel overwhelmed and trapped in commitments; I want to relish the challenge and joy of being involved in different organizations and communities across campus.
1 Comment

One Response to “Sophomore Spotlight: Looking Ahead”

  1. Kayla Vine on August 19th, 2019 11:19 am

    Love all your insights Rachel!!

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