This school year has been much, much more normal…so why don’t I feel like myself again?
I have been asking myself this very question over and over again during the past few months of my sophomore year. Things are looking up: we have in-person classes, in-person events and many of the COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed…so…what gives? Why do I still feel stuck and out of place? Am I still down in the dumps due to the disappointment from my first year of college or is there something deeper at the root of my problems? For me, at least, I think the answer is yes.
When first coming to college, everything is so new and exciting. You’re constantly meeting new people, trying new things and putting your newfound “adult” freedom to the test. So, what happens when the haze of excitement clears and you realize that this is your life now? I attribute these confusing feelings to the phenomenon of the “Sophomore Year Slump.”
The “Sophomore Year Slump” is a term coined by students nationwide to describe the confusion that comes with one’s second year of college. It seems that when the door of excitement closes, feelings of self-doubt start to creep in. I have often heard that sophomore year can provoke feelings of uncertainty for many: you might feel unsure of your major, unsure of your identity, unsure of your place in college, unsure of your emotions—maybe even unsure of what you want to eat for dinner tonight—and the list goes on and on.
Don’t worry! I am here to let you know that these feelings are normal, valid and you are not alone in your struggles. I have been feeling this way and I know many others have been too! I became aware of my slump a few weeks ago and I am here to share the tools I have been using to combat my self-doubt in order to reclaim my excitement for life.
Remember why you’re here.
I know that it’s extremely hard to stay motivated when the future seems so far off, but don’t forget why you’re here! If you’re feeling uncertain about your major, utilize that feeling as an opportunity to get to know yourself better. Instead of feeling anxious about the future, get excited about who you are going to become. There might not seem to be an end in sight right now, but don’t let that feeling make you forget who you are and why you’re here in the first place.
Don’t be afraid to say no.
Coming from a very impulsive person who wants to say yes to everyone and everything, this was a hard pill to swallow. I know that the urge to seize every opportunity out of the fear that you might “miss out” is still there; however, it is imperative that you center your energy on what is truly important to you. If you know you don’t want to do something, don’t do it! Being selective of who and what you give your time to is an absolute game changer. This will help you form more authentic relationships and find out what you really want from college. Be selfish with your time, you only get so much of it.
Don’t be afraid to say yes.
You may have stable friends and a strict routine that keeps you sane, but don’t let this deter you from trying new things and meeting new people! It is very easy to get comfortable and to shut yourself off from new, exciting opportunities—but don’t get stuck in your ways! Try something new; you never know which door that could open for you.
You have time!
Recently, I have been stressed out that I have not been making the most of my college years and that I am letting the time just pass me by. These thoughts have prompted me to compare my college experience to others’ and to overthink some of the decisions I have made. This mentality is toxic and if you have also been thinking this way, stop! The grass is always greener on the other side and you never know how someone truly feels about their own experience. Remember, each day is another opportunity to meet someone new and do something differently.
Give yourself credit where it’s deserved.
Let’s be real…last year was hard. Being a freshman in college during a pandemic was scary, lonely and at times very disappointing. Give yourself some credit! We persevered through not having an orientation which resulted in using Instagram DM to make friends…so now we can do just about anything! All jokes aside, be proud of yourself and don’t forget where you came from. Just because last year was abnormal does not mean that we have to overcompensate in order to have the “true college experience.” Forgive yourself and keep moving forward.