Advice for Sophomores

After spending hours on extracurriculars, asking for several letters of recommendation, and writing a few essays, you’ve been accepted into IMSA, Class of 2024 – congratulations! Departing from your local high school and attending IMSA is certainly a daunting task – new friends, new lifestyle, new home, and new classes. Yet, it’s all definitely worthwhile. To ease your transition to IMSA, The Acronym’s got you covered – here are some tips to carry you through the year.

Courses and Academics

The question all students ponder: how does one survive IMSA’s rigorous curriculum? Communication is extremely important; meet with your teachers if you have questions, talk to your classmates, and share your thoughts during your classes. Your teachers, despite what you might think, are here to help you. 

Asking for help is also of the essence — attend office hours and set up out-of-class meetings with your teachers to work through questions. Also, explore IMSA’s Peer Tutor Program — use it to connect with upperclassmen who have taken your class before and are well-equipped to answer any questions you may have. 

I-days (typically on Wednesdays) will be a blessing for sophomores. Use this time to catch up on assignments, study for tests and quizzes, and spend time with your friends. I-days are your home base in IMSA’s fast-moving academics — use them to your full advantage.

Residential Living

Living with another person for five days a week and away from home is certainly intimidating. Yet, your residential experience will be one of the prominent memories of your IMSA experience. From having deep conversations with your friends late at night to binging ramen, you will cherish these memories years from now.

To assist with the transition away from home, connect with RSLs. They’re well-equipped to introduce you to your hall’s traditions and help ease the transition to living at IMSA. Also, connect with your roommate. They are also new to IMSA and are going through some of the same challenges as you — talk to them and collectively navigate through the transition. For the Class of 2024, we’re all your roommates (metaphorically, of course) — no student has lived a full year on IMSA’s campus and we’re all still transitioning.

Extracurriculars

Club life is a critical component of the IMSA experience. IMSA presents over fifty clubs and organizations, ranging from cooking to speech and debate to so much more. IMSA’s clubs are where you’ll have a community of like-minded peers and a space to nurture your interests. 

Student Council (or colloquially, StudCo) annually organizes a Club Fair, a large congregation between club leaders and students. Use this as a space to learn about organizations, application processes, and club structures. The Acronym will also be there — come talk to us!

Once you identify some organizations you’re interested in, consider shortlisting the ones you’re truly invested in — it’s not in your best interest to apply to a significant number of clubs and to have to judiciously split your time. Instead, apply to only a couple and give yourself the room to truly immerse yourself in the club.

To learn more about managing extracurriculars, check out Sajal’s article in this same edition.

Honorable Mention: Sleep + Time Management

Sleep is known to be rather scarce in the IMSA bubble. Students tend to over-commit, resulting in unhealthy sleep levels. Try your best to participate in opportunities that you are certain your schedule is comfortable with and ensure you are using your study hours as an opportunity to complete your academics. 

And please, don’t be the sophomore that pulls an all-nighter to show your “strength.” When you’re dozing off during your first-mod class, you’ll regret it.

Sophomores, your first year will be quite the journey. But, we’re here for you!

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