The Sophomore Slump

The Sophomore Slump is an awful phenomenon that rears its ugly head for college students in their second year. After fresh optimism of freshman year wears off, you are often left with a mixture of exhausting emotions and no guidelines on how to deal with them.


I consider my freshman year at Penn State to be the best time of my life. Everything was so new and exciting, and it felt okay to not know what you wanted to do. My friends and I stumbled into unknown parties, boldly started conversations with strangers, and lived each day so free and untethered. When the end of freshman year came, I was devastated to leave my friends and everyday college life. The thing that made it easier to leave State College was knowing I would be back in the fall. That excitement, however, changed very quickly.


When I did arrive back on campus for the start of my sophomore year, I experienced a change that I was not prepared for. Suddenly, nothing seemed new or exciting, and the daily routine that once filled me with a sense of independent now felt like a chore. So many feelings consumed my mind, and I had a hard time dealing with all of the changes I was experiencing. I felt like I was watching my life from afar rather than living it. My motivation for classes plummeted, and I felt a consumed by the pressure of finding internships and creating a plan for my entire life. I wish someone told me what I know now: it’s okay to not have your life planned out.


During this time, I was involved in a few clubs and activities, yet, I couldn't get myself to attend meetings or social events due to the stress I was feeling. But, this only made the feelings of exclusion and loneliness worse. I found that it was so easy to just stay in bed and ignore all of the problems I was facing. After a while of feeling like this, my friends took notice and insisted that I talk to them about how I was feeling. After discussing this, we discovered that all of us had been feeling pretty much the same way. I realized that this was not an issue that only affected me, but a lot of my peers as well. This negative feeling of being overwhelmed while simultaneously unmotivated was being felt by people all around me.


Understanding that I was not the only one feeling this way, while comforting, was not an instant cure. It sparked a little bit of hope that allowed me to talk it through with others, but the feeling did not immediately go away. Through my “slumpy” feeling though, I was filled with a reassurance that others had felt this way and got through it, so I could get through it, too. I’m writing this now as a spring semester sophomore, and things are a lot better. It is still hard, and it is a long process, but it’s important to remember that your life is what you make of it. The pressure of sophomore year shouldn't be the straw that breaks the camel’s back; it should be the time where you push through the slump. Try not to let the pressure get to you! Sophomore year is all about making mistakes and making memories.