In my final weeks of learning as a GSU student, I’m going to look back at how each year has defined my life and has led me to where I am today. This is part two of the four-part installment on Sophomore year.

Director James Kicklighter, College Sophomore, at Georgia Southern

Towards the end of my freshman year, me and several of my fraternity brothers started talking about getting an apartment together.

Being the meticulous person that I am, we went to every complex in town to look at flyers, units and compare features to decide what would be the best place to call home. We thought it would be nice to stay put for the next three years, but certainly didn’t plan on it.

Though visiting each other frequently, we went our separate ways for the summer, soon to discover a new fall season upon us. Compared to my freshman year, it was a much different experience this time around. Despite the fact that I was moving again, it wasn’t to an unknown territory or quantity. It was with the people who I had grown to know well during the past year.

For the first few months of our Sophomore year, before the 2008 financial crisis, we pooled our money together for groceries and a “family dinner” every night.

In fact, we shared pretty much everything, from cookware to laundry detergent, with no arguing. Our close, intimate circle grew bigger, as the friends of our friends grew to be part of our circle.

We were practically inseparable. Without many campus responsibilities and intensive classes, we were able to spend countless evenings together, going out or staying in, while experiencing countless activities in each other’s company. We began to know each other better than any of our friends in high school. Together, we took weekend trips and distant journeys to places like New York City, moving as a single unit.

Somewhere around February, we started to realize that the end of the academic year would mark the halfway point in our college career. It didn’t seem like it could be so, because we just started the year before. Friends began to be accepted into their upper division majors, while others didn’t meet the qualifications and had to readjust their life goals, all within a matter of weeks. It didn’t seem right or fair to make so many big decisions in such a short period.

At the end of the year, we had a luau party that everyone went to. After a few too many drinks, we all went swimming in the pond next to a house on Cawana Road. The mud was thick as we walked around in it, and suddenly, someone had the bright idea to start throwing the mud around. Soon, we were all drenched in the thick, black substance. No one was angry, though, not just because we were drunk, but because we had become more than friends – we had become a family.

It didn’t matter what choices we had to make or what directions we were heading, because in that instant, we had each other.

While I knew we would continue to be friends, soon we wouldn’t have time to spend evenings together, travel, or have family dinner. 

Because for the first time in our lives, no matter where we lived or what we did, it was time to start growing up.