The Sophomore Season – What Next Year Brings for the Class of 2019
Alexander Landowski ’19
Knowing how much more difficult my freshman year at Strake Jesuit has been than my eighth-grade year was, I sought out current Sophomores to discover what Freshmen can expect as we head into our second year at Strake Jesuit. I sat down to chat with Nicholas Novelli, Lynn Ashby, and Scott Robins, all current Sophomores, to see if I could gain some wisdom about what next year might entail for myself and my classmates. My desire was to learn about the favorite elements of their second year at Strake, as well as any disappointments they may have experienced and academic differences that they have noticed.
The one element that all three of these students agree upon is what they like best about their sophomore year. Perhaps, to no surprise, it is related to additional freedoms from the transition. Novelli describes it as “additional flexibility” with respect to having more freedom in one’s schedule. Ashby explains how “freedom in choosing classes” provides him with some control over the load of homework he receives. Robins proclaims that in having greater freedom in manipulating his schedule, he “got a free period every day that I can just use to study.” To him, this new freedom was the most surprising component of his sophomore year. To the other two sophomores, however, it has been the additional workload that they have experienced that has been the most surprising element of year two. I can’t say that I was thrilled to hear that!
I found it interesting that they weren’t all in agreement about the difficulty factor that they perceive this sophomore year brings regarding academic commitments. Two of them claim that they know it’s harder for them than their freshman year, although they have learned to prepare themselves more adequately to offset the increase in academic requirements. The third sophomore feels he is so much better prepared, as a result of his initial year at Strake Jesuit, that it actually feels easier for him this year. Ashby mentioned that he has devised a set schedule he rigidly maintains, allowing him to more capably deal with the increased workload and educational expectations. Better time management, and “not procrastinating so much, as you Freshmen do,” is Robins’ formula for sophomore success. Novelli said how his expectations going into his sophomore year were different from what they were when he originally set foot on campus. Why? “I didn’t know how hard it would be, so now – more realistic goals,” he explained.
As with most of the young men enrolled at Strake Jesuit, friends and friendships are significant in the evaluation of our high school experience. I wanted to see if my small focus group’s were identical, mostly similar, or somewhat dissimilar from their freshman year. To my surprise, two of them said that their closest friends were markedly different this year from last. The third, however, stated proudly that his friends were the same. “You keep good friends!” he exclaimed.
My final inquiry of these men of the class of ’18 dealt with how they feel that their concept of Men for Others has changed. All of them admitted that when they first arrived here they didn’t really understand it. Ashby summed it up best when he said, “Freshman year, you’re really learning what it means to be Men for Others. As a Sophomore, and then continuing as a Junior and Senior, you’re not learning so much, as you are doing. You’re trying to be a Man for Others.” Well stated, Lynn!
After speaking with these sophomores, I think that I have a little more confidence and a little less anxiety about what lies ahead for me and my fellow classmates of 2019 in our sophomore season.