By: Della Lin
For my incoming sophomores, this is officially going to be your first normal year of high school. Time will start to pass by quickly, as you are already almost halfway through your high school experience! As you should know, sophomore year is a pretty important one. Not only are you going to need to start thinking about your future, but what you do this year is going to set you up for your junior and senior years. However, don’t start panicking though as I am here to help you out! As someone who has already been through this, I will be giving you some helpful advice so your sophomore year goes as smoothly as possible.
My first piece of advice is to start taking your academics seriously. Your grades will matter, so I would encourage you to put effort into all of your classes and not be afraid to ask your teachers for help when you don’t understand something. Also, as you get older, you will have more freedom in designing your schedule, which means you will have the chance to pick which classes you want to take. The number one thing I recommend is to challenge yourself by taking difficult courses, like AP classes. One aspect that colleges look for in a student’s application is challenging courses. However, don’t overwhelm yourself by taking a million AP classes. Instead, know what subjects are your strengths and pick classes based on that. For example, if your strength is in social studies, then take AP World History. Another thing you should seriously consider your sophomore year is taking the PSAT in October. Since you will be taking either the SAT or ACT during your junior year, taking the PSAT would be a great first step. The PSAT will give you a preview of what’s to come and can even assist in helping you figure out your study plan. Your PSAT results will give you an idea of where you stand and show you what you need to work on.
One of the simplest tasks you can do is to figure out what your hobbies are. Discovering what you like to do and what your interests are can help you build your resume. Once you decide, you should become more involved in school activities by joining clubs that match your interests. Whether that be a sports team or an art club, extracurriculars will always benefit your application. Eventually, you will be able to apply for specific leadership positions in these clubs, which will help you stand out in a crowd. In addition, if you have any spare time outside of school, one thing you should consider participating in is community service. Not only is this another thing to add to your resume, but helping others can be very beneficial to your mental health. The great thing is that you can work your interests into your volunteering. For example, if you love cooking, you can make meals and bring them to food drives. Remember, don’t focus solely on schoolwork; you still have a whole other life outside of school.
In my opinion, the top two things that should always be a priority are time management and your mental health. Being good at time management is an essential skill because you will start to have more things on your plate. I was not exactly the best at time management, as I would often procrastinate. However, a solution to that problem is to find something that motivates you. For me, it was reminding myself of my goals and what I wanted to accomplish. However, your mental health should always be your number one. It’s essential to know when to give yourself a break or some downtime. Overworking yourself can cause stress and anxiety, which is not suitable for you or your body. Just remember to take care of yourself and always put your mental health above everything else.
Overall, sophomore year can be a challenging one. However, by taking it day by day, you will be able to get through anything. The most important thing is to know your priorities and make sure that you enjoy your sophomore year. I hope this helped, and I wish you sophomores the best of luck!