To the sophomores...
My younger sister has just begun her sophomore year of high school. I've gotten to see a different perspective from my sophomore year. By the time I was in tenth grade, I was a little excited about school and eager to hang out with my friends every day. I had just met one of my soon-to-be close friend who had actually just moved to my school after being an MK in Thailand. I was pretty excited for my sophomore year. On the other hand, my little sister has had a harder high school experience than I did and has been pretty anxious in some ways about starting this school year.
I don't know which situation you're in right now. Maybe you're happy or at least un-bothered about starting back to school like I was. Maybe you're nervous about not having friends or about potential drama. Perhaps you're starting a brand new school with different students. Perhaps you've lost a friend or two and aren't sure what to do without them. Regardless of your worries, sophomore year has the potential to be great. From someone who's been there, here are a few pieces of advice.
The schoolwork will get harder, so be prepared to study. Personally, I felt like my freshman academics were incredibly easy. I didn't study for one test all year and I made straight A's. Along with every single other person in my class, I flunked my first chemistry test during my sophomore year and it shocked me. The other classes weren't nearly as hard as chemistry was, but they were harder than I was used to. Freshman year is academically quite a bit easier than sophomore year. Realize that ahead of time and be prepared to study a little more. Stay organized. Use a planner.
Continue to try hard to make good grades. I can't emphasize that enough. You're going to desperately want some academic scholarships when pricey college rolls around... and even though it probably seems like it, it isn't actually that far away.
Go into the school year with a good attitude. Even if your freshman year wasn't the greatest, don't let that affect how you start this school year. People will be able to tell if you're expecting this year to be awful. Smile. Be genuine. Be nice. Not having really close friends in high school can be a hard thing, but it doesn't have to ruin the entire experience. Even if you don't have best friends at your school, you can still make some casual friendships and some friendly acquaintances just by being nice. And remember... just because you didn't make any friends your freshman year doesn't mean you won't this year.
When it comes to driving, don't fall into peer pressure from your friends to break the rules. Yay, you'll finally get your driver's license! How exciting. Getting your driver's license can be a scary and wonderful thing at the same time. If I had to give one piece of advice, it would be to follow the rules. Even if your friends tease you for following the speed limit or only carrying the allowed number of passengers in your car, it doesn't matter. Since you're a new driver, it's soooo easy to get into a wreck. Believe me... I got into a wreck when I was sixteen. Follow the rules. Be overly-cautious. Don't let yourself fall into the "I've just been to driving school so I technically know more than experienced drivers do because I've been refreshed on the rules. I don't need to worry. I'm a good driver" mindset. You are a new driver, whether or not you know all the rules. It's easy to make new driver mistakes. Be very cautious. Very, very cautious.
Intentionally put your focus on God. It's easy to fall into apathy your sophomore year, I think, because it isn't as much of a landmark year as the other high school years are. You've already gone through the transformation process of starting high school and it isn't really time for you to start hardcore preparing for your future like you do in junior or senior year. Sophomore year is kind of a "do your school work and be good" year. I remember feeling like I wasn't really going anywhere sometimes. It's so easy to become lukewarm in your faith when your life feels so monotonous. If you start to feel this way, throw yourself into mission work and God's Word. Ask Him to keep your heart on fire for Him and to reveal to you His plan for the year. Sophomore year isn't never-ending or dreary, even when it sometimes feels like it is. Keep your focus on God, even when you feel apathetic.
I loved my sophomore year. Getting my driver's license gave me so much freedom. For the first time, if I wanted to go to a friend's house or to the movies or to visit a new youth group, I could take myself. I didn't have to rely on a parent to tote me around. And hey, this is the year of your sweet sixteen. How exciting!
No matter what you're going through this year, keep your eyes on the Lord. He will continue to grow in your life so much. Keep shining for Him.
Love you, sophomores!