As exciting as sophomore year can be, it can also be nerve-wracking. When I sat down with sophomore Ayanna Desai, it was clear that while she doesn’t quite know what lies ahead, she knows that she will be ready.
It helps that she had a good summer, though it “felt pretty short,” she says. Still, “it’s really nice seeing all my friends.”
With freshman year behind her, her biggest takeaway from that experience was learning time management. “Get your homework done right when you get home,” she says. For those who have busy after-school lives, this is key because “you can get so much farther and you can get so much more done.”
Work habits aside, I also asked Ayanna about her favorite freshman memory. She laughed and struggled a little to find what to say, perhaps because Covid was such a focus for everyone. But Covid “actually made me appreciate school more.” You really don’t know how good you have something until it's gone.
While we all learned to value school more we also learned to value the people who make up our school, like teachers. Ayanna says “you need to be outspoken and as polite as possible” when it comes to building relationships with teachers and adults. Going to tutorial to ask for help is one way to be outspoken. It shows you care and are “trying to get better.”
Student engagement is another part of school that we all lost to some extent due to covid. SING is a service project that is a highlight of 9th grade. Ayanna and her classmates were very disappointed that Covid took yet another thing away from them. But Ayanna plans to have a can-do attitude and “make the most of” her sophomore year. That goes for everyone who plans to reclaim their lost time from the past two years.
So far, the freshman to sophomore transition has been “smooth” for her and an easier transition than the one she made from eighth grade to freshman year, Ayanna explains. Still, sophomore year is already heating up in terms of expectations. It seems like a lot is on the students' plates with classes, so Ayanna plans to take a free period in exchange for one of her classes.
But she is still aware that Sophomore year is more than just classes. She’s also focusing on her relationships, and the concern about how “people change their sophomore year.”
In spite of the stress of this year’s classes, Ayanna is already considering what she wants to take her senior year. Since freshman year, she has always wanted to take the Holocaust class because it sparked interest in her.
At this time, college is “not a pressing matter” but nonetheless always “in the back of my head,” she says. Like many other sophomores, she still feels pressure and is a little anxious about junior year. “Junior year is like a big one,” she tells me.
As for her future beyond Lovett, I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up. Although she didn’t exactly know, she knew how she was going to find out. With a sense of adventure and fearlessness, she plans to “explore different areas” to decide what she might want to be. But she doesn’t want to look too far ahead.
With the multiple challenges of school, Covid, and other stressful matters, Ayanna tells me that what makes her the most upset is when she has a lot on her plate or when someone is unhappy with her.
Fortunately, Ayanna finds joy in friends, family, and, of course, her dog. And she knows how to manage a stressful situation. “I’ll just take a step back,” she says, “and tell myself it’s not that important and I can do it and I can manage it.”