I was speaking to a close friend of mine from college recently, and she asked me why I thought the second year was so much easier than the first. I thought of this analogy, which I think is pretty apt to describe the change: The first year is like being in a foreign country without knowing the language. You have no friends, everyone seems to be staring at you, knowing you're new to the area and taking advantage of you; you just don't get it yet. You fumble with everything, you're incredibly overwhelmed with the amount of information being thrown out at you because there is no logical way to process it all, it's just sensory data, and you feel incompetent, even though you keep trying to convince yourself and others I'm actually a competent person, I know better ways to do these same things!. The second year, though, is infinitely easier, if only because you now know the language, in a way that only immersion can bring about. That is my challenge to the first-years for whom quitting is even a possibility now: stay long enough to learn the language. Then--and then only--decide whether or not you like it.