Making the Transition from Freshman to Sophomore Year

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At Georgia Tech, there is an Institute-wide initiative to help sophomore students avoid the traditional “slump” and encourage them to move forward in their academic careers. Sounds easy, right? Well, the answer is “yes” and “no.” As I recently learned first-hand from Alina Staskevicius, now a third-year industrial engineering major, embracing the realities and having a sound social network is key to success. Excerpts from our conversation are below.

What attracted you to Georgia Tech?
I actually wasn’t attracted to Georgia Tech at first when I was applying to college. I was accepted into Duke and MIT but Tech wasn’t on my radar. After I attended the Girls Night Out, I fell in love. I just knew that it would be a good fit. Thus far, it has been a great balance of academic and social possibilities.

How was your transition during the first year?
During the first year, it was really the little things that were difficult. You prepare yourself for the bigger issues that you can expectâ€"laundry, preparing meals, et cetera. But for me, it was sharing a bathroom and leaving the lights on while my roommate studied that were unexpected adjustments.

What helped you adjust?
It was extremely helpful to know the Peer Leaders. Getting to know students who have been here a while was extremely beneficial. I also joined a sorority Alpha Chi Omega which helped me build my network of friends. I am from Woodstock, Georgia, but really didn’t know anyone at Tech.

How was the adjustment from freshman year to sophomore year?
In your freshman year, everything is so new and exciting. When you become a sophomore, the adrenaline rush dissipates but you have to keep going. It is really helpful to find ways to keep energized. Once you settle down and find your niche academically and socially, you achieve the balance you need to make it through your sophomore year.

What resources have your leveraged at Georgia Tech to help with transitional issues?
Several… academic advising for one has been critical. I have my entire college course path mapped out and that is very comforting. I was also involved in the Sophomore Summit, which was a great opportunity to reflect on your college experience and understand where you want to go. It was really energizing and motivatingâ€"just what I needed at the time!

What would you impart on students of the sophomore class?
Embrace that fact that it isn’t freshman year anymore and that is okay. As a sophomore you have more independence than you did as a freshman and that is great! It is also a great time to start giving back to newer studentsâ€"help teach them the ropesâ€"that really makes you feel good.

For more information on Academic Advising, visit For more on Sophomore Summit, visit


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    Rachael Pocklington
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