How To Plan for a GREAT Sophomore Year

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Transcript How To Plan for a GREAT Sophomore Year

How to Plan
for a GREAT
Hosted by Dr. James T. London and Amparo Diaz
May 17, 2012
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For most of you, your freshman year
focused on:
◦ Getting acclimated to the demands of college life (academic, social,
◦ Finding your niche in campus life, academics, and support networks
◦ Exploring new concepts and topics in academia, getting a better
understanding of your major, and/or weighing your likes and dislikes of
your selected major
◦ Personal development (intellectually, socially and introspectively)
Preparing for Sophomore Year
Now that you’re getting ready to finish your freshman
year, it’s important that you begin planning for next
year, especially, in these areas.
◦ Major selection and transition to career/post grad focus
◦ Developing your personal network
◦ Extracurricular activities
◦ Next summer opportunities
◦ Time management
Avoiding The “Sophomore Slump”
It might be harder to do than it seems. You’re not a freshman anymore, so the
pressure’s off. You know your way around; you know who your friends are.
You’re way more comfortable this year, and there’s so much college ahead of
you, you might feel like it’s all right to relax--but it’s not.
Sophomore year counts for something, too. Though you’re not yet an
upperclassman, in a very short time you will be. Then, it’s out the door and
onto the real world, with a GPA that reflects your efforts sophomore year as
well as all of the other ones.
Bottom line: it’s great that the anxiety of being new is over with, but some
pressure to succeed is okay.
Avoiding the “Sophomore Slump”
Maybe you’re not as comfortable as some of your classmates, even though you are
a returning student. Sophomore year can be especially tough.
Historically, the sophomore class is the one that gets the least attention. You’re not
new; you’re not about to graduate. The conventional wisdom seems that for the
moment, you’re okay. But what if you’re not?
If you’re still having trouble adjusting, you should talk to someone, your resident
adviser, a faculty member, perhaps. Try an extracurricular activity you didn’t last
year. There’s still plenty of time to have a great college experience
Focusing on Your Major
Go to the Career Counseling Center
A visit to the Career Counseling Center might help clarify what major you should
pick. Make an appointment to talk to a career counselor, discuss what types
of careers are available and appealing to you. This might help you decide on a
course of study.
See your academic adviser.
Having an appointment with your academic adviser may help you rekindle a
feeling of focus. The two of you can talk about your options for your major course
of study, and the rest of college as well. If you feel yourself slacking off, tell your
academic adviser you need help putting together a plan to get back on track.
Note: Though picking a major does not lock you into a life lived within the
confines of the subject area you pick, it will affect you in the job market.
Finding an Internship
The more real-world experience and exposure you’ve had to the industry
or field of your choice, the better when it comes to applying to jobs or
graduate school after graduation. You might talk to your career counselor
about what opportunities exist, or email an alum in a field that interests
you and volunteer yourself.
Having an appointment with your academic adviser may help you rekindle
a feeling of focus. The two of you can talk about your options for your
major course of study, and the rest of college as well. If you feel yourself
slacking off, tell your academic adviser you need help putting together a
plan to get back on track .
Finding an Internship
Working as an intern is one of the smartest things you can do to improve your chances of
finding a job that makes you happy once you graduate. As an intern, you’ll discover:
◦ Whether you prefer working in a large organization or a small start-up
◦ What type of work you prefer—for instance, the solitary focus of programming versus coordinating the
efforts of many team members as a project manager
◦ How your classroom experiences, from team projects to specific technical skills, translate to a realworld work environment
◦ How people respond and react in real life contexts
It’s a good idea to start interning as early as the summer following your sophomore year.
Finding an internship is similar to searching for a full-time job—you’ll need to put together a
resume and interview with recruiters.
Building Your Network with Professors
Professors can provide a lot more than academic support. Beyond providing
assistance for coursework and advising you on choosing classes, they can open the
doors to internships and give you guidance in planning for your post-college career.
◦ Contact your professors early in the term: If you don’t communicate with them early, chances are
you won’t establish a connection.
◦ Start with email: Meeting with your professors right away can be daunting, so get in touch with
them initially via email. Send an email asking for advice about courses or for help with a topic that
came up in class.
◦ Go to office hours with a classmate: If facing your professor alone intimidates you, sign up for an
appointment with a friend from class. Visiting together will make you both feel more comfortable.
But with or without a peer, it’s essential to meet with your professors.
Keep in touch: Even after the semester is over, maintain the connections you’ve built. As you
approach graduation, professors may be able to assist you with job searching, writing letters of
recommendation, and introducing you to industry contacts. Behr recalls how one of her economics
professors introduced her to former students who majored in the same area she did, who could offer
her insight into her academic career choices and post-college options.
Time Management
Get the “big picture”. Plan out your semester:
◦ Gather all your syllabi together and read them through carefully! Make a note of when and how many
major assignments are due (above and beyond the weekly homework and readings that you have).
◦ Use a semester calendar to record when all your exams, quizzes, lab reports, papers, finals, etc. are due.
◦ This gives you an overview of what your semester is going to look like and where you may have “crunch
periods”. This will give you an idea of how far in advance you need to plan. Make sure that you can
complete all your assignments, without sacrificing the time you need to put in to make sure you keep up
with all your classes.
Make a weekly schedule based on your needs:
◦ One effective way to make time for all your work is to create a weekly activity planner. You can print out a
weekly planner and write your schedule in or use i-Cal (if you have a mac), dCal, or google calendar (free)
to create an electronic schedule to plan out your week.
◦ Try to make sure you put this some place visible! Make copies and put one in class binders, on your dorm
room wall, etc. You’re more inclined to follow something if it’s in your face and not hidden away….
Any Questions/Comments?
Thank you!
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