Life Lessons from Sophomore Year

A handful of lessons, suggestions, pointers, and advices collected by yours truly throughout a tumultuous year at the University of California, San Diego


  • If you don’t see the avocados, don’t trust the guacamole.
  • A good view can drastically improve your living experience:
  • The classics aren’t overrated; they’re classics for a reason. Read Nietzche, Marx, Hemingway, Emerson. See the world through conflicting lenses, and then decide which one suits you better. If your education doesn’t accomodate classical erudition, go out of your way to find it.
  • Talk to those under the age of eight and over the age of sixty. Their priorities and perspectives are vastly different from those in between.
  • Nine times out of ten, skipping lecture will cost you more time than it will save you.
  • Develop a productive relationship with the internet, one where it expands your mind, not dumbs it down. Educational YouTube channels, conservative and liberal news sources, and Google’s ability to explain anything to you in milliseconds are at your leisure. Some might argue the finest education is available online, and for free. Again, develop a productive relationship with the internet.
  • Learn to cook. Preferably for others. Definitely for yourself. Dining halls are not the sole source of food, and definitely not the best.
  • There’s no time in your life better for musical exposure than college.
  • At the same time, don’t hate on music tastes. You’re in college, for goodness sake. You can be divided on politics, the finer points of ethics, and the validity of cloning technology. Someone’s affinity to Selena Gomez should not be a bone of contention.
  • There’s a wide world of free food, free stationary, and free movie screenings begging for your attendance. Take advantage of it.
  • If you haven’t played with a kitten, you haven’t lived. Like literally. There are genes in your body that will only be expressed in the presence of the cuteness that is a baby cat. Go find a kitten and let it meow softly at you as it pounces after your shoelaces. Live.
  • Sit down, grab your favorite drink, pen, and paper, and ask yourself why you are attending college. What do you hope to gain? Are you achieving all of those goals? If something’s missing, what can you do now to achieve it?
  • To re-emphasize the cat point, here’s another picture of that gorgeous kitty.
  • Don’t call your parents when video-chatting is an option.
  • Now, as a final point, I’d like you to do an exercise I do whenever I’m feeling low. I’ve found it to work quite splendidly, perhaps it’ll bring the same joy to your life, as well. Listening?

Look at your life as if it were a memory. View your present as if it were your past; you’re a senior citizen reminiscing on those beautiful days of youth. Look around your room, look at your pictures. Imagine instead of being taken last month, they were taken sixty years ago. Personal possessions long gone, friends long lost, family long passed away, the places that served as the backdrop for your life long destroyed and replaced. How badly would you want to go back to those days? Wouldn’t you wish to return to those days? How longingly will nostalgia howl at you to chat up your now gone parents, talk to those friends again late at night with the horrible food, or even to be fit enough to walk to the beach? How bad would you want it? Each photo a snapshot a world long, long gone.

Now come back to the present. It’s all still there, waiting for you. Your friends, your family, your travels, your adventures. Your youth, your invincibility, everything you envied and longed for is all within you right now. None of it’s gone, and you’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you. Enjoy it.

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