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The 5 Stages of Hitting the Sophomore Slump (as Told by Friends)

The “Sophomore Slump” (much like the “Freshman 15”) is a phrase that everyone has heard but seems to think is a myth… until it happens. The Slump embodies every feeling of laziness, unwillingness to work, and just general giving-up, with hints of quiet stress and internal screaming. It hits during sophomore year; the motivation, energy, and excitement of freshman year have faded away, and the realization sets in that you are actually prepping yourself for the real world.

1. Denial 


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“This isn’t due for another week. I have time; I have so much time. And I’m ignoring the pile of work due tomorrow, because it’s fine.” The stage of denial comes paired with the nostalgia from freshman year, as you trick yourself into thinking you can still go out just as much while somehow eventually getting more work done.

2. Anger


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Even though procrastinating your own work has caused most of your stress, you seem to get mad at anyone and anything having to do with school; an email about a due date frustrates you, you hate that professors are giving out assignments (even though that’s literally their job), and you even flip the pages of your textbooks with hostility.

3. Bargaining


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Bargaining comes in so many forms: justifying slacking off, sleeping through your alarm with the promise of getting up early tomorrow, (empty) promises of “just one more episode”… Soon enough, you’re drowning in papers and due dates are coming at you left and right, gliding you into stage 4:

4. Depression


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When you can’t avoid the deadlines anymore, the emails are piling up, and the number of Blackboard notifications are climbing, it can become overwhelming. We’ve all been there before: laying on the bed (floor?) in a grand, overdramatic “I’m-never-going-to-graduate-or-get-a-job-and-I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life” fit. Relax, breathe. You will graduate, get a job, and be successful.

5. Acceptance


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There are two acceptances the Slump can bring around: the first is a brief acceptance of the overdramatic fit described above. A heavy sigh paired with an announcement of “Screw it, I don’t need this, I’m going to bed”, followed up by a long-overdue Netflix binge. The second form (the healthy option we should all follow), is the acceptance that the workload is going to get tougher as time goes on. The assignments will be harder to keep up with, classes will become more focused and intense, and the professors will continue to expect more and more from you.

Accept that you can’t be as carefree anymore, and that now is the time to dedicate a larger part of yourself to working towards your future. Don’t give up and fall victim to the Sophomore Slump. Stay motivated, go to class, eat healthy (as healthy as you can get in a dining hall), and stay on top of your work. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. (And if you need more motivation… remember spring break is only two weeks away!)

Melanie is currently a sophomore studying Human Biology at SUNY Oneonta, and looking to pick up an anthropology minor. Her next big step in life is to move to New York City to attend graduate school where she can continue her education of humans and other cultures. She has a passion for learning about different people and lifestyles around the world, which drives her writing for Her Campus. In her free time she loves to read books by Jodi Picoult, relax on the beach, cook for her family, and of course, write.
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