On and Off Campus Blog: There’s a lot to love about sophomore year

May 29, 2024

By: Yancheng Zhao ‘26

Sophomore year is often overlooked. Kind of “the middle child,” it doesn’t have the
excitement of freshman year or senior year, nor the business of junior year. I’ve heard
people call sophomore year the least important year of high school, but does it merit such
a designation?

The argument is as follows:
Freshman year is when you start off your high school journey. You start off the year at
Bivouac, in the middle of nowhere, with no connection to the outside world. You
experience many firsts: first year at the Upper School, first clubs, first winter exam, first
history paper, etc.

Junior year is when you’re going to be busy keeping your grades up and taking AP
classes. Especially here at BB&N, the added Junior Profile and the research paper will
definitely keep you busy. College counseling kicks off in the winter, adding another thing
to worry about for senior year. Junior year is also when you have your first prom.
Senior year is the last year of high school. You’re taking the most electives. It’s when
college applications are in full swing. You’re working tirelessly to visit campuses, write
essays, and get recommendations. After March, you start off on your SSP as you
anticipate the approaching graduation.

So, what does sophomore year have to offer? Well, just like in other years, there is a
history paper for those taking a history class. The Sophomore Debates is probably the one
“big event” we have in the winter. This year, we had a sophomore dance, but that was
something the grade council decided to do this year, and it’s up to the incoming
sophomore grade council to decide if they want to do that again.

As I look back on this year as a sophomore, there’s no one single moment that stands out
to me, and that’s both a good and a bad thing. A lot of stuff happened this year. I
prepared for my Sophomore Debates. I attended the Yale Model UN conference. I
enjoyed the solar eclipse outside. I participated in an engineering program with my
friends. Yet, if I had to think about the year as a whole, I’m not sure those would come to
mind immediately. With junior year fast approaching, my first thought would probably be

Now, more than ever, there’s a culture of feeling like you always need to be doing
something every moment of your life to be accomplished. Something that “makes you
unique,” or that will “look good on your transcript.” That’s when you burn out.
This year, I’ve had the privilege of having free time that allows me to chill out after
school, chat with friends, and go to sleep early. I’ve had the privilege of saying “maybe
not today” to tasks I must do because I know I can do it later.
While I haven’t experienced junior or senior year, I will say pretty confidently that
sophomore year is probably the year where you have the most time to do what you want:
to pursue a new hobby, to spend more time with a loved one, or to just get those extra
hours of sleep—so we should use it to our advantage.

We shouldn’t revolve our lives only around the big things that happen. Yes, they are
important, but there is more to life than just that. Appreciate that one night when you
don’t have homework and can go out with friends. Appreciate that one day when the
weather’s nice so your class sits outside. Appreciate that one Wednesday afternoon when
there is a frozen lemonade truck on campus. Appreciate the small moments in life.

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