The first time I heard the term “sophomore slump,” it was in a Fall Out Boy song. The song is a lament toward the so-called sophomore curse, where the second iteration of anything is never as good as the first. As a middle schooler who still had a lot to learn about the world, I didn’t think anybody had any business trying to warn me about anything, so I packed the term up and shoved it into an easily forgotten corner of my brain.
Later, as I was entering my first year of college, I would often remark to people that my sophomore year of high school was the absolute worst. They were all awful, sure—we’re talking about high school here—but something about my sophomore year felt particularly awful. At the time, I passed it off just as high school being bad, in general. Since you’re stuck in it for four years, it makes sense that one year would be worse than the others. The fact that it was my sophomore year had absolutely no bearing on that. Right?
Now that I’m in my third year of college, I can say without a doubt that the sophomore slump is a real thing. The curse caught me again, turning my second year of college into an absolute nightmare. I lost most of my friends, barely passed my classes, and was left wondering how I’d ever survive my junior year. If you don’t believe in such things, you better start believing, lest you become the next victim of it. Don’t worry if you find yourself in the midst of it, though—now that I’ve survived it, I know how to handle it. Here are some tips on how to survive the sophomore slump.
- Organize, organize, organize.
During my sophomore year, my schoolwork was off the rails. I was missing assignments left and right, failing quizzes and barely scraping by at the end of the year. When you feel so stressed, it can be hard to keep track of your schoolwork, but it’s necessary in order to succeed in school because otherwise you’ll be even more stressed. Create a schedule for your schoolwork and stick to it. Pick certain days to do homework for certain classes, so that you know when things need to get done. Make a list of your due dates (color-coding is a bonus) and put it up somewhere where you’ll see it every day.
- Get out of the house.
It can be easy to let schoolwork consume your life when it feels like it’s all your doing. Make some time for yourself and get out of the house. I know that there’s no better feeling than curling up in bed after a long, exhausting day, but sitting alone in the dark isn’t going to be great for your mental health. Take a walk around your neighborhood or go get some food on campus. Try calling up a friend and seeing if they want to go see a movie, or maybe suggest something fun that you wouldn’t normally do. For example, my friends took me to an animal sanctuary with them one day, and it did wonders for my mood.
- Talk to somebody.
This seems like the simplest piece of advice, but it can be really hard to reach out for help when you feel like you’re at such a low point. There isn’t anything wrong with needing to talk to somebody! Reach out to someone you trust, like a close friend or a family member. You can also make an appointment with Counseling and Psychological Services at UCF, to talk to a trained professional. You might think, oh, I don’t need counseling, but don’t underestimate how helpful it is to talk to somebody who is trained to help you.
- Take a step back and breathe.
Remember that this is only one year out of your life. You’ve lived many years before, and you’ll live many after. Just because things are bad right now doesn’t mean they’ll be bad forever. Take a deep breath and remember that the slump ends, and when it does, you’ll come back better than ever before.