What to Expect This Year
Sophomore year is an exciting time at Harvard! You are now connected with your House community (an allegiance that lasts a lifetime!) and you've had a year to experiment with new study strategies, new activities, and new relationships. In your sophomore year, you will be asked to declare a concentration, which is where you will take the bulk of your upper-division coursework. Be sure to seek out your academic advisor in the House and also concentration advisors in your intended department — they can help you figure out which department you'll enjoy most. You'll also notice that new opportunities for leadership are opening up to you, both inside and outside the classroom. Find a few that excite you most and jump in!
As you get to know your new House, be sure that you've introduced yourself to the tutors, your Resident Dean, and the Faculty Deans. These will be your primary support network outside the classroom/department (and they can point you toward some great study spaces!) You'll be taking higher-level coursework this year, so it's important to identify your resources and supporters early (the Academic Resource Center, Writing Center, and Counseling and Mental Health Services all have great workshops and groups to support you, too!)
Exploring Your Options
Now that you know a little bit more about your likes and dislikes, you can explore new things in a more informed way, or, adjust established relationships to better fit your needs and wants. For example, if you started doing research as a first-year student, how did you like it? Do you think you would like to return to work with the same supervisor again, or try something/someone different? Some topics are best explored in the classroom through formal coursework or research and some can be pursued outside the classroom through student organizations and activities. Faculty, tutors, and advisors can help you figure out a good balance of formal and informal learning.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
If you met anyone in your first year (faculty, instructors, tutors, advisors) that you had a good relationship with, be sure to keep in touch! You don't have to be in someone's class to have an excuse to stop by their office hours — as long as they're not busy with other students, they would love to hear what you've been up to and share some of their own updates, as well. These relationships, if you continue to maintain them, will help support you in the long run, so don't be shy! Faculty and other academic advisors would be especially excited to hear if you have an interest in exploring research in their field. If you attend URAF's Intro to Research workshop or any of our summer research opportunities programming, a faculty advisor might be a great person to reach out to afterward to discuss what next steps to take.
How Can URAF Help?
In addition to hosting lots of information meetings and other events, the URAF advisors and student research ambassadors would be happy to talk with you in a one-on-one appointment or in our drop-in hours, every weekday from 2-4pm. We can help you reflect on experiences you've had already or pick out new opportunities to explore! We can also connect you with other resources or individuals around the College, there's something for everyone! Don't hesitate to reach out, we're here to help!