The “sophomore slump”

Natalie Bejarano-Dugarte, Staff Writer

With the fall semester in full swing, it’s hard to believe another school year is upon us.  Doesn’t it feel like the summer just sped by without warning? Regardless of where you are right now (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior — a super senior), it’s time to take charge of your own academic potential. You’ve probably heard instructors tell you on the first day of class, “come prepared, always ask questions, and be ready to learn.” New classes are always exciting, until you realize what you’re in for. Pages upon pages of blank ink appear like blurred lines, frightening, amusing, yet inspiring you to keep treading ahead because it is all worth that ‘A’ in the end.

You see, the mindset you hold when you embrace the new school year has a lot to do with how successful you’ll be in all your classes. I’ve known people taking 14, 12, 17, even 21 credit hours. It doesn’t matter how many credit hours you take, the power to succeed is in your own hands. Make responsible choices about your education. Don’t allow yourself to be frightened by material you don’t understand. Don’t wallow into self-pity and wait too long to ask for help. Your instructors are there to help you. They’re not just sitting in their offices twiddling their thumbs, or typing at computers creating devious plots to sabotage your grade.

When you come to class unmotivated, upset, depressed, it affects your listening and makes it harder to focus. Worrying about a problem doesn’t get rid of it.  It only wastes your time, depletes your energy and affects your sense of purpose. Have no worries when you’re in class – for now, you’re getting an education. Focus on that.

With this in mind, I’ve debated whether or not to discuss the ‘Sophomore Slump’ analogy. It’s the second day of school (by the time this has been written), but I can already feel a change in how life was freshman year and how it appears to be now as a sophomore. Studies state that the sophomore slump is a period of confusion for some students, where they face uncertainty about academics, relationships, spirituality, and emotions. Some students come back to campus feeling as though they should know their way around, and how to utilize their resources, but for some it just doesn’t work that way. Sophomore year is where many define their career goals and cling to a major for dear life. It becomes your identity. However, it’s also a time of self-discovery, and finding what your interests are. But, this very fact itself creates an immense source of pressure for some students!

A close friend of mine once told me: “I feel uncertain of what my major should be. I’m worried I’m not taking the right classes, I worry that I’m wasting my time AND money…and I’m not really…happy.” These are realizations everyone has at some point or another, but sophomore year is a common place where they start.

Being a sophomore doesn’t mean you understand life in college any better than you did when you were a freshmen. You’re still trying to figure out what classes you should take, how to study, and how to make good grades. In many cases, you may be on a quest for self-improvement and desire to correct past mistakes you made your freshmen year. Anyone can read this and say, “I’m not a sophomore, what does this have to do with me?” That’s not the point. To be honest, this can affect anyone at any stage within his or her college career. It can cause students to dropout, become uncertain, prolong education by changing majors, or even consider transferring schools. It’s how you deal with this uncertainty and what steps you take that determine your overall “destiny” in college.