Sophomore Blind Spots

 

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The sophomore slump is no stranger to anyone, especially not to those of us in such high-stress environments such as *cough* Emory *cough*. While, yes, it’s an academically enriching environment that provides limitless opportunities for success, life at Emory is a never-ending competition.

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We’re competing with ourselves to do better than we did as freshmen, we’re competing with each other for jobs and research positions, and sometimes, it feels like we’re competing with the university to maintain our sanity. The new and exciting freshness that came with college’s new journey has worn off and the shiny, appealing lure of Emory’s gates has turned dull for a lot of people.

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Nearly 25% of college students experience this slump that’s characterized by loss of interest, constant exhaustion or oversleeping, and feelings of boredom or stagnation. All of this seems strange for Emory students, however, considering we were ranked with the #1 quality of life. These Princeton Reviews measure the quality of life based off of student happiness, both inside and outside the classroom, but did they ignore the sophomore?

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No, perhaps not. The sophomores of Emory’s campus, although they might occasionally feel like they’re the middle child overlooked in the family of students, are just lost. Being lost, however, can lead to being found.

To be a sophomore means to lose your guidance. You no longer have freshman seminars to explore what sounds cool, your OL is not constantly checking in on you, your RA is living his or her own life, and now, for the actual first time, you’re on your own. A lot of people buckle down and get serious about majors, clubs, jobs, and when you’re someone who is still undecided about any or all of those things, it’s easy to feel lonely.

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The problem becomes, then, intuitive. As a sophomore, whether you're currently one or you’re about to become one, you have to step outside of your comfort zone and utilize the resources at hand, which thankfully there are many of.

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Here are 3 ways to start making the most of the little time we’re given here:

  1. Join, or make, a club that you actually want to be in

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There are TONS of options on campus for clubs, from fitness clubs like Taekwondo, Volleyball, or a Jazz group, to major oriented groups like Women in STEM, GIMG, AKPsi, or ChEmory. There are even clubs for a multitude of hobbies like acapella, anime, gaming, and hiking. There are clubs that will take you out into the world, like Outdoor Emory, or clubs that will let you give back to Atlanta’s community, like Volunteer Emory. If you feel like you want to be a part of something ~traditionally college~ then try going Greek! I rushed as a sophomore and was happier with the process the second time around than I was as a freshman. If you really can’t find something you’re interested in, making your own club is easy: find some people who share the interest (even just one or two), and petition the university. The world is at your fingertips.

  1. Start reaching out to the professors you like

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First and foremost, let me offer a shoutout to Professor Roberto Franzosi in the linguistics and sociology department who makes me rave about the Emory faculty and staff relationships with students. Professors, like Franzosi, who share a deep interest in the things you share an interest in, are people who can not only provide you with academic opportunity but also who can offer their expertise and guidance in life. Look for professors who value connection, who welcome students warmly for their office hours, or who you might really just vibe with in class, and reach out to them. They’ve been here for longer than we have, and they’re no stranger to cultivating enriching experiences for students. Draft that email and be surprised!

  1. Follow Emory on social media

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I know, it might mess up the ratio, but Emory is constantly posting about all the events that are being held on campus. There are always games to watch (which you should watch and support because the only reason our school spirit sucks is lack of effort on our part), festivals to experience, meditations to relax with, religious services to attend, and when there’s nothing on campus, they’ll offer Experience Shuttles to places in Atlanta (like the High Museum, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Dekalb Farmers Market, etc.). They’re here to uplift us, but it’s up to us to use the tools we’re provided

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We’re here and lucky to be, but independence is understandably daunting. Being in college, being able to make mistakes and to learn and grow from them, is a precious gift. We are in an environment that seeks to make life better, not worse (as bad as all the papers are). Yes, you should be challenged by academics, you are here to learn, but no, you should not be miserable. Take the first step in enjoying this university and the opportunities it has to offer you and really look around at all you’ve been given.