I want to start by getting one thing out of the way: I chose to live in FroSoCo for a second year. I don’t understand why that’s such a shocking concept for so many people to whom I tell this, but I genuinely enjoy living in FroSoCo. I could write paragraph upon paragraph defending my dorm against the stereotypes believed by people who have never lived there, but I already did that a year ago in “FroSoStereotypes and other dorm generalizations.”
That aside, living in FroSoCo as a sophomore is surprisingly different from living there as a freshman. It’s a peculiar mix of familiar and unfamiliar in which everything can feel the same in one moment but different in another. It’s sort of like how parallel universes are portrayed in movies. The basic elements remain the same, but everything else is turned on its head.
FroSoCo has two buildings, Schiff and Adams. I lived in Schiff last year, and this year I’m living in Adams, which underwent minor remodeling over the summer. So they’re similar, but still different.
The same principle applies to people. All of the sophomores from last year are living elsewhere, but many of the former freshmen remained. That means there are more familiar faces than there would be if I had moved to a different dorm, but everyone now lives in different rooms with different roommates, and the absence of last year’s FroSoCoans is definitely noticeable.
Finally, the freshmen. Such young, fresh faces, experiencing Stanford for the first time. Seeing the freshmen make friends, start classes and figure out how Stanford works really drives home the fact that that is no longer me. Also, their cheerfulness is astounding. Their optimism gives a new meaning to the term “sophomore slump.” I thought I was plodding along perfectly fine, until I realized that while I’m plodding, the freshman have been skipping. Though that was definitely how I felt a year ago as well, it somehow seems unfathomable to imagine being in that state of mind again.
Another thing I forgot about freshman year was how little I knew about Stanford. That isn’t to say I know a lot now, but questions like the hours of TAP and Ricker are things that I didn’t know I had learned until one of my younger dorm mates asked me what they were. This illuminates one of the largest differences between living in FroSoCo as a freshman and as a sophomore. It isn’t just about the different people, the different building or even a different outlook from being a year older. My role in the dorm is different now. Outside of the RAs, the sophomores are the upperclassmen. We, as sophomores, no longer have 80 older students to whom we can ask a billion questions. We’re the ones the freshmen go to with questions, rather than it being the other way around. It’s interesting to be on the other end of the equation and see the situation in a new light.
Basically, it’s weird to no longer be a freshman, and the change seems to be amplified by the dynamic of FroSoCo. Because freshmen and sophomores are only the two major groups living in the dorm, it’s easy to see the changes that a year can make. It makes the awkward middle-ness of sophomore year feel older, while making the inexperienced exploration of the freshmen feel younger. This, and all of the other changes, make living in FroSoCo as a sophomore significantly different even while other things remain the same.
Contact Kiara Harding at kiluha ‘at’ stanford.edu.