Sophomore…or Suffermore year?
Sophomore year of high school. Juniors miss it, and freshmen dread it. It surely couldn’t be that tough, as it’s only the second year of the total four years of high school. So why do so many freshmen get scared about moving up? William Lee (‘18), a freshman in KIS, says he’s extremely nervous about becoming a sophomore because he thinks balancing grades will be tough–and he is definitely right about caring about grades.
As Stephen Secora, the associate Dean for Admissions and College Relations at Syracuse University, says, “Sophomore year is the time when you must start thinking about college admissions.” And no, I don’t mean having to visit college campuses or take three AP courses. However, having a general idea about college won’t hurt. Your high school transcript is no doubt the most important component of your college application. And with that in mind, your sophomore year grades do matter. There’s no such thing as “colleges only look at your junior and senior year grades,” because your grades for all eight semesters of the four years of high school year are considered.
Yumi Kim (‘17), a current sophomore speaks of sophomore year as being definitely tough. From balancing school with sports, she did have to persevere in many ways. However, she also states that sophomore year has been the best year she has experienced so far because of the bonds she made with teachers and her team members on the varsity girls volleyball team. Sophomore year is when you’re given so many more opportunities, compared to freshman year. There are additional varieties to the classes you can choose and clubs you can join (for example Habitat for Humanity…for most sophomores). It’s indubitably the best choice to take the chances and take the newly open paths! If you want to try out for the speech team, go for it. If you want to join the PTV crew, get started with your application. The possibilities are limitless, and the only thing stopping you from what you really want to become, is you. Take full advantage of the newly given freedom, for the experiences you are gifted with are priceless.
Speaking of freedom, in KIS, you are given the choice of taking one AP class in your sophomore year. You can choose between taking AP Biology, taught by Mr. Hopkin and Ms. Gerry, or taking AP World History, taught by Mr. Yanuszeski. Both are tough classes, and more challenging than regular Biology and World History classes. But remember: this could be a chance you want to be take. A current senior soon to graduate, Min Jun Kim (‘15) believes sophomore year is when you’re more used to high school life, and also the time when you should begin preparing. The transition from being an eighth grader in middle school to a freshman doesn’t come easy. However, after a year of experiencing high school should get you somewhere. As that is the case for most incoming sophomores, they choose to take AP courses, in order to challenge themselves, and again, for preparation. Juniors can take two, and under certain circumstances, three, AP classes. It would be wise to have an idea of what taking AP classes are like in sophomore year so that by the time you become a junior year, you’re all set. Min Jun Kim also mentions that sophomore year is when you gradually grasp the idea of taking the SATs. Of course, the SATs are usually taken during students’ junior years. But for somewhat of a rehearsal sake, maybe consider getting yourself a prep book, or taking SAT classes at hagwons.
But in the end, always remember this: You do you. As Chanwu Oh (‘16), a current junior says, the most important thing is following what you think is right. Sophomore year is when you tend to get pressured by your surroundings and friends to do things you don’t want to do. But it’s your sophomore year; to truly find yourself, you need to ask yourself what you want to do. Of course, there are things you nevertheless have to do, like care about your GPA and grades, as they are a given. But Chanwu advises you to give yourself some leeway and let yourself truly be you without any hinderance of social pressure, outside opinion, and even parental pressure. Don’t join MUN because it would “look good on your college application.” Don’t try out for sports just because of your friends. Don’t think joining Charity House is a must because your parents told you that being a community service club is important. Instead, do what you feel like doing. As cheesy as this sounds, it’s the truth. After all, it’s your first and last sophomore year of high school–make the best of it!
PS: If you have any more questions about becoming a sophomore, Yumi Kim (’17) advises to ask your Link Leaders! They’ve all experienced it before, so they can provide you with the best tips and advices, and of course, be your friend!
– Leona Maryuama (’17)
Header: Yunji Lee (’16)