The Sophomore Slump

by Jessie Pick (Sarver)

I’d never even heard of the term “sophomore slump” before going to college. When someone mentioned it, I thought he was fabricating something to cheer me up. I was wrong; the sophomore slump exists. I believe that most sophomores go through this period without recognizing what it is, because this “slump” is different for every student. Maybe my story will explain more.

Jessie SarverMy first year at Fox seemed too good to be true. Orientation weekend was an exciting blur. I loved my First Year Seminar class and met a lot of great people. Everything moved so fast and soon I found a balance between classes and social life with a little sleep sprinkled on top. I became quickly attached to the theatre and music departments. Before I knew it, I was leaving to go home for the summer.

Sophomore year started differently. Campus wasn’t as new and exciting as it had been. Life settled into a routine quickly. But for some reason I felt like I should know exactly what I was doing. True, I knew who my friends were, how much I should study to succeed, and how much sleep I needed to function. Though life wasn’t the same as before. I knew where I was but at the same time I felt lost and out of place.

As the year progressed, this weight inside of me grew heavier. I didn’t feel very accomplished in school or activities. Relationships became complicated out of thin air. I was tired, frustrated, confused and stressed-out. It seemed like the only thing I did was question. How had I lost all sense of control in my life so fast?

I remember calling home after having a rough day. My father listened quietly as I spilled my frustrations. Life during freshman year seemed so much easier. Shouldn’t I be even more prepared as a sophomore? After I finished and wiped away some tears, my dad gently told me, “Honey, you’re going through the sophomore slump. It happens to most students, but you’ll get past it. Everything will be all right.” It was comforting to know that my feelings actually had a name, but I didn’t think I was going to get over them.   It took a few months and a few more tear-filled conversations before I realized he was telling the truth.

The Sophomore Slump is hard to explain. Studies say it is a time of confusion for students academically, relationally, emotionally and spiritually during their sophomore year. Students come across many unspoken expectations. They should be familiar with their campus, know their major, start searching for internships or career paths, have a social crowd, be involved in campus, and continue to make positive progress over the next year. Sounds like a lot of pressure to me.   At the same time, achieving sophomore status doesn’t mean that all first-year issues have been resolved. Personal development can’t be finished after only one short year on a college campus. Sophomores are in a place of continuing to deal with college issues as well as thinking about future plans. There’s a lot to think about and work on.

After talking with people, I realized that I wasn’t alone in my feelings. Many of my friends were going through the slump as well. But how could I make this feeling go away? What was the solution? Is there a solution? Getting out of the sophomore slump was more of a process than a simple answer. The best way for me to ease my frustrations was talking. Talk to God, talk to my family and closest friends, talk to my advisors. The more I was able to put my feelings into words, the more I could begin to move past it.

Sophomores need to realize that even with all of this pressure it’s okay to feel slightly lost and unsure, especially about their majors. Some students change their major multiple times before making any future decisions. No, my life did not fall apart because I didn’t have everything decided by sophomore year. College is a time to continue making progress during your young adult life.

Now, entering my junior year, I’m not sure I have completely gotten over my slump. There are still times when I am unsure of my future or feel frustrated. However, now I am able to cope with those feelings easier and move past them. I know I have plenty of time to explore options and dig into my passions. Relationships will continue to change and more expectations are soon to come. Life is a continually changing process and college is no exception.

My experience may be completely different from your own, but I want to encourage you as you enter your sophomore year. The sophomore slump happens but it is not the end-all. There will be many opportunities to make changes and to find new paths to follow. If you find yourself down and feeling out of place, find someone to talk to. The sophomore slump doesn’t have to label your second year in college. Break the stereotype; make your year your own.

Best of luck as sophomores. Don’t let a single minute pass you by.

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