Second-year sages say be calm, take prerequisites

My first semester as a sophomore, professor David Koukal incorporated something into his lecture of philosophy and Plato, which I never forgot:

“Think of the word ‘sophomore’ and its relation to the Greek ‘sophia’ – the word for wisdom. Oftentimes, sophomores end up thinking they have more wisdom than they actually have, after only one year of college when, in fact, they have so much more to learn. So they come off as bombastic and full of themselves. They act sophomorically when they should really be humble.”

Lucky for me, I received these words of wisdom during my first semester as a sophomore. They kept me in check that year (and to this day). However, this doesn’t dismiss the year sophomores have under their belt or the knowledge they’ve received.

Hannah Howard, our first of two sophomores, said her biggest change since freshman year was switching her major. She has also learned to take college more seriously.

After about a minute of reflection, she noted that working as a mentor in University Academic Services has been her most significant success story so far.

Apart from rarely quibbling over grades with professors and misjudging how much free time she would have (seeing as she commutes and has a job), she can’t think of a substantial conflict she’s had to overcome since freshman year. That’s inspiring.

Howard agreed with the freshman class about approachable professors and added how cool it is to have a variety of clubs to join.

She also offered a word of advice for freshmen: “Take the prerequisite classes seriously. It’s way different than high school.” (She’s happy to report that she’s finished all of her prerequisites.)

Carlton Sims is another sophomore who has had a significant shift in attitude since he was a freshman.

Sims is from Gary, Ind., which he claims is one of the worst cities in the country. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds get killed there, he said.

So he decided to run track, and take it seriously. Sims planned to gain support and scholarships (which he did). He was on his way when he hurt his knee.

Suddenly, colleges no longer pulled for him.

Except for one. (That would be the University of Detroit Mercy, if you didn’t get the implication.)

He was away from home but discovered here, “There was a different vibe.”

What was it that aided in his becoming more optimistic between last year and this? His family’s support.

He would call and complain, and they would remind him that he was in a prestigious college. He had to get used to a new place and having professors.

“College is on a deeper level than high school,” said a changed and enthusiastic Sims.

And his advice: “Don’t stress. Want the college experience, because it’s not just about hitting the books. It’s about new people. Setting yourself up for after college. You’ve got to get out and explore.”

Are you listening freshmen? Sophomores?

Make this your home. That’s an inspiring order.