Towards the end of my freshman year, my therapist began warning me about the Sophomore Slump: the year where friends change, work gets harder, and the freshman-year excitement wears away. I went into sophomore year with the feeling of impending doom hanging over my head, but the year that I was told was going to be the worst ended up being pretty great. Work definitely got harder, and the stress of choosing a major consumed me for the first few months of the year. However, since my freshman year was still fairly limited by COVID-19, I didn’t experience all that my college had to offer until my sophomore year. Sophomore year was the first full year where social events and parties weren’t a concern to the school anymore. The sophomore year slump may have skipped over me for this reason, because I finally felt like I was really at college in my second year.
This past summer I spent every day looking forward to going back to school, thinking this year would be even better than sophomore year since that was supposedly the “slump.” However, I’m over a month into junior year and I can easily say that the slump has hit me this fall. The shine of my 1,800-person liberal arts college has started to tarnish, and the issues I was too naive to notice as an underclassman have become apparent. The social scene which used to be exciting now feels repetitive. I feel weirdly old for this school now, even though I’m still over a year away from graduating. Junior year is a strange spot to be in; you’re supposed to start figuring out what you want to do in life, but you still have a good amount of time left in college. Similar to me, you may have pursued your first internship this past summer, and going back to school is strange after having experienced what the rest of your life may look like. On top of that, a large portion of your grade is abroad, and suddenly your year is so small compared to the rest of the school. Overall, this year has felt like an in-between stage of my life; I’m not a new underclassman anymore, but I’m not yet a full adult.
I’m studying abroad this spring semester, and while I’m so eager to go, I’m trying to not count down the days as an excuse to not make the most out of my Junior Fall. By reminding myself of the many aspects of Kenyon I’m going to miss while I’m abroad, I’ve been able to be more present this semester. I can simultaneously notice that I’m in an uncomfortable stage of college and also enjoy my time with my friends before not seeing them for a few months. To relieve some of the uneasiness I’ve been feeling about this year, I’ve been leaning more into my academic and co-curricular interests. For the first time since starting college, I feel confident in the major that I chose and the path I’m pursuing. While junior year so far has not been what I expected it to be, I have realized that there is a side of ease in being so settled into my life at Kenyon. Familiarity with one place can initially feel repetitive and predictable, but, in the end, being so comfortable here has given me the confidence to branch out while knowing there’s always a base to return to.