Natalie in the middle

Natalie Olivo ’13

At the start of this school year, as I was moving back to campus and hauling trash bags of clothes into my new res hall, it felt like just yesterday that I had been a first-year. But this time, moving in was different—calmer. Of course, that was probably because my RA was the only other person on the floor. (My fellow Denisonian editors and I moved in a few days early to put out an issue for August Orientation, because we’re nice like that.)

Still, even after the rest of my Crawford floor mates settled in, a sense of serenity had replaced the restlessness that I felt at the beginning of last year. I had only left a few things behind this time, and honestly, the transition back to campus was like slipping on a broken-in pair of sneakers. I wasn’t leaving home; I was home.

All right, enough sentiment. I’ve been a sophomore for almost a whole semester year now, which makes me about halfway qualified to offer my reflections on the matter. But no one ever tires of the musings of an undergraduate philosophy student, right?

My sympathies go out to the Jan Bradys of the world, because I think I’ve developed Middle Child Syndrome. Admittedly, sophomore year can be a bit of an identity crisis. I’m no longer the green first-year, nor am I the seasoned upperclassman.

Turning to etymology to define myself, I discovered that the word sophomore comes from the Greek words sophos meaning “wise” and moros meaning “foolish.” So essentially, sophomores are “wise fools.” We don’t know everything yet, but at least we recognize this and are willing to learn.

I could continue to prattle on about word origins, but here at Denison we’re more into experiential learning—and I’m not just saying that because my last two articles were about political simulations. (Not to shamelessly self-promote or anything.) While it was comforting to return to campus, I ran the danger of staying stagnant if I didn’t explore new opportunities. So I did.

It turns out that indoor rock climbing is pretty fun, even if you can’t make it past the beginner wall.

And here’s where I segue into the killer analogy: sophomore year is just another foothold on the ascent to graduation. It may not always be the most exciting part of the climb, but it’s just as valuable.

Natalie Olivo is a sophomore English major with a minor in history from Pittsburgh.

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12:16 PM December 16, 2010

Alison Waldman wrote:

Sophomore year was my “experimentation” year, too. I was kind of all over the place– still unsure of my major, and taking classes in as many departments as possible. though a whirlwind, it was so incredibly valuable. Enjoy the madness of this middle-ground–this is your time to learn as much as you want!

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7:47 AM December 17, 2010

Joanne graham wrote:

Hi, Natalie! Your mom sent me a link to this article! It is beautifully written! Congratulations of all of your sucesses and the many more to come! Happy Holidays!
Mrs. Graham

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