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I'm a junior at Chelsea High School in Michigan. Along with being a Fiveable creator, I love doing theatre, creative writing, and editing my school yearbook! In times I can't do any of those, I try to achieve my lifelong goal of petting every single cat in the world.

Many say freshman year is characterized as the year to find your passions, to expand your horizons, and to try new things.

While that may be partly true, let’s be real here. Freshman year is about survival.

It’s about simply staying afloat in the cold sea of new activities, grades that actually count, and a completely new environment. Though you may be able to start narrowing your prospects to your passion, freshman year is getting used to high school. 

But sophomore year? Sophomore year is different. 

It’s that perfect balance of knowing the structure, but without the added stress of getting into colleges. Sophomore year is the year to find and further your passions, in anything from academics to electives to extracurriculars.

Sophomore year offers many more options outside of the classic freshmen classes, and I recommend taking those chances. I started off sophomore year with taking new, challenging classes and found myself thrilled with the choice. Any academics (or electives!) that sound cool to you, look into those in sophomore year!

Try that new elective you’ve never even heard of before. Sign up for that honors class. It might be hard, but you might find a new subject you love! I applied this same idea of discovery to extracurriculars, with similar results.

While you probably found your people in extracurriculars last year, you don’t need to remain stagnant. Join a new one, or deepen your focus in one you’re already in. It’ll pay off big-time. During my sophomore year, I took my theatre involvement a step further and joined yearbook. Though it was worrisome at first, I found it amazing! In short, you never know where joining new extracurriculars might lead you! 

This doesn’t mean you should overload yourself.

There was a point in April when I was doing four-hour rehearsals, writing articles, studying to test out of Spanish, and vigorously reviewing score well on the AP World exam. This might sound cool on paper, but it was awful. I was stretched so thin, I forgot to take care of myself, and was sick all spring break. So if you find yourself regularly staying up until midnight trying to finish an assignment because you were busy until 9 pm, that’s a pretty good sign to take a break.

As cliche as this sounds, you have to take care of yourself first.

Trust me, you don’t want to have to end up with walking pneumonia to figure that out. 

All in all, my sophomore year was pretty crazy, but it was amazing. I got to try so many new things that I didn’t have the time or the bravery to do freshman year, and I’m so grateful that I did! But most of all, have a little fun with sophomore year! You only experience it once, and though it’s a rollercoaster, it’s such a fun one.

So smile a little bit on the way down.

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