From Sophomore to Junior Year

I recall beginning my sophomore year at IMSA nervous and excited as ever and unsure as to what the coming year would bring. I remember feeling as though my life was a mountain, and that IMSA was the highest peak. I remember feeling as if I were on top of the world.

I started my junior year less nervous, and less excited. IMSA still seemed like the peak of my mountain. However, this time I realized that in only 2 years I would have to get off this mountain and find a new one– that my sophomore year had been my downhill journey, and this year would be the start of going back uphill towards my future.

I understood, this time, that a lot of late nights and discouraging grades would try to slow me down, try to stop me from reaching my next peak. I viewed this coming year very differently than I had viewed my sophomore year. I wasn’t nervous, I wasn’t excited, but I was scared and ready to persevere.

The drastic change in my viewpoint simply goes to show the evolution of IMSA students as the years go on. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s everyone, but a lot has changed over the course of the past year. I’ve mentally matured at such as rapid rate, and have grown far more independent. Things that I could never have understood had I not come to IMSA are now constantly lingering in my mind—such as the value of being at home with my family, the intense gratitude towards getting at least 8 hours of sleep on a weekend, and even the importance of home-cooked meals, amongst other things. It seems to me that as each year goes by, things like move-in and carnival seem more trivial in the grand scheme of things, and we’re all just expected to be more independent. The closer we get to our college years, the more we realize that we haven’t been completely, 100% dependent on our parents since before we  entered IMSA, and we probably won’t ever be so again.

I remember asking my parents on Friday night if they were coming to Saturday’s carnival. They told me they would come if I wanted them to, but as a junior I didn’t really expect them to come just to see me. As a family, we were over the initial “first-time-away-from-home” thing, and I truly didn’t mind whether they came or not, even though of course it would be nice to see them. Similarly, there was a time last year when I was afraid to stay at IMSA on the weekends, and would refuse to do so no matter what. I went home every weekend my sophomore year, even if just for a day, because I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t. This year, I don’t mind staying the weekends. I don’t mind being away from the comfort of my home, because I’ve become so used to calling IMSA my home away from home.

Altogether, I perceive things differently this year—I understand that staying a weekend at IMSA won’t kill me, I understand that my parents don’t have to always be there for me 24 /7,  and I understand that I can do the work here and accomplish a lot if I just try. Sophomore year, looking back, was just one rollercoaster of adjusting to life away from home for a lot of people. I’ve noticed that several students here have drastically changed their outlook on life at IMSA, and have a completely different attitude towards staying here and doing the work. It’s as if we all got a huge wake-up call and realized what we need to do to make ourselves happier and more comfortable at IMSA. Alongside this, I think the bonds we’ve made with other students here at IMSA aid in making us more relaxed here. Sophomore year was a lot about finding our place and discovering where we belong and where our abilities and talents lie. Now that we’ve found our niche, we can focus on other things that are important to us and not worry about what’s going to become of us in the future. We’ve started to grip tightly to all aspects of IMSA, and in my opinion, while many of us would have been ready to leave IMSA for good last year, it’s slowly becoming ever so harder to let go of the memories and the opportunities we have experienced. Over the past year, the rate at which my viewpoints on IMSA have changed allows me to only imagine the difficulty with which we’ll have to let go of our years here at IMSA at the end of our senior year, but how my attitude towards IMSA will change by the end is something I think many of us look forward to discovering.

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