Keeping out of the Sophomore Slump
By Kristen Lemaster
September 12, 2012
Kristen shares advice on getting through and excelling during the sophomore year.
It has been said that college is like any relationship: after some wonderful months in the honeymoon stage, reality comes crashing down. Suddenly it really bothers you that football weekends get so crazy or that occasionally you have to walk to class in the pouring rain. That’s okay. In fact, that’s normal. The trick is using this new perspective to jump back in the rushing waters instead of letting yourself remain stagnant.
It starts on a personal level. The best gift you can give yourself and everyone else in college is honesty. If you are unhappy in your major, taking classes that don’t interest you, or participating in activities that don’t fulfill you, please do the world a favor and admit that to yourself.
College should not be boring or viewed as a struggle you must endure before you make it to the real world where the grass is supposedly greener; water the lawn now, make it fun and lively. If there’s something you really love, plant your heart there, dig in deeper, and dedicate yourself to thriving in that study, student organization or service opportunity. Apply for a leadership position, or up your commitment from attending monthly meetings to getting involved on a weekly basis.
If you haven’t found your passions yet, plant new seeds. Maybe there is something you overlooked or couldn’t participate in freshman year, and now is your chance. You aren’t expected to have it all together by the end of that first year. New opportunities will constantly appear, and you owe it to yourself to try them, even if they are scary or seem completely off the path you planned to take. Remember that success isn’t a straight line, and it definitely doesn’t happen in the span of one year.
Meet new people. Odds are you won’t be living in the exact same dorm room as last year, and this means there is huge potential for making new friends and learning from them. Befriend at least two people in each class, and make an effort to get to know your suitemates, hallmates, or neighbors. Also, don’t discredit the new freshmen – that was you once!
Most importantly, use your second year to become a better you. If you always wished you had time to exercise last year, make it happen this semester, whether that means enlisting a friend to encourage you to run or signing up for yoga classes at the gym. If you struggled to turn things in on time and make yourself study, work on being more organized, like by buying a planner, keeping a calendar in your room, or using apps on your phone (or all of the above – I’m guilty as charged).
Take this year to break out of some bad habits or break in some new ones, even if that’s as simple as flossing. Find a creative outlet, or at least pursue something intellectually enlightening each week. Read the book you’ve been putting off for years now, and watch the movie you always heard got great reviews. There’s not a magic checklist to follow for college, but if you can make yourself more interesting than you were when you started, then you’ve done it right.
Enjoy it. It’s unbelievable how quickly the first year goes by, and the second is even quicker. Maybe you will have to start making some important decisions about your career goals and ambitions soon, but rejoice in that ambivalence. There’s freedom in being a sophomore, no longer stigmatized as a new kid on the block but without many of the adult responsibilities of upperclassmen. And as Fall Out Boy suggested, replace your sophomore slump with a comeback of the year.
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