About a month into my senior year of business school, I wanted to write about the top 10 differences between first year and second year. But, since I’m a firm believer in the 80% rule, I stopped at eight. So without further ado …
1. Electives: Sure, you start to take electives in the second semester of your first year (or the second half of your first semester, if you count your Flex-Core as an elective), but you have a lot more options in your second year because a.) you get priority over first years when choosing classes and b.) you’ve taken the prerequisites for a lot of electives. This is nice, because you really get to customize your academic experience.
2. New Faces in Class: I have to say, I miss good old Cohort 4 (CoFo!) after taking so many classes with them last year. Also, unlike me, a lot of my friends are on a finance-oriented track, so I don’t have many classes with them. But on a positive note, it’s nice to take classes with people who I didn’t get much exposure to during my first year.
3. Job Search: It starts way earlier in your second year. Companies can’t do on-campus interviews for internships until January, but they start interviewing second years for full-time positions in September.
4. Not as Much Rat Race: In your first year, it is easy to get caught up in comparing your grades, your job search, your extracurricular activities, etc. to those of your peers. I think by your second year, you realize trying to keep up with everyone is unsustainable, and you grow more comfortable with your niche within your class.
5. Different FOMO: FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.” In your first year, FOMO manifests itself as your wanting to join all the clubs, attend all the Think and Drinks, enter all the case competitions, interview for all the jobs, etc. In your second year, the FOMO is less about trying to do everything available to you at business school and more about trying to maximize your enjoyment of your final year outside the real world.
6. Better Living Arrangements: In your second year, you are more familiar with the Austin neighborhoods, you have more than a weekend or two to visit potential houses/apartments (if you’re from out of town), you’re not choosing a roommate blindly, etc. I actually had a great living situation my first year, but for this year, my two roommates and I added a fourth roommate and rented a nicer house in a part of town (Tarrytown) we had all been wanting to check out.
7. Better Taste in Music. I have really stepped up my indie rock game since moving to Austin. In my first year I had heard of about 10% of the bands performing at ACL, and this year I’ve probably heard of, well, maybe 20% of the bands (hey, that’s a 100% improvement!). My goal for this year is to be cool enough to know who the up-and-coming bands to catch at SXSW are (last year it was the Alabama Shakes and Of Monsters and Men).
8. Better Social Status: While I was freaking out about core accounting and elementary Excel my first year, the second years seemed so cool and collected while talking about the elaborate Excel models they were making in electives that sounded really, really difficult. Now that I am a second year, first years probably think I am smart and experienced even though I’ve probably forgotten half of what I learned in accounting and I’m still nothing special with Excel.