Ah yes, the dreaded and much talked-about Sophomore Slump. Well, folks, I’m here to tell you it’s as real a thing as you and me, and it’s affected almost every sophomore I’ve talked to right here on our beloved campus. I did not believe in this terrible syndrome until this semester, though everyone warned me about it. I thought, in the classic, know-it-all Swattie way, that I was much too smart to fall into such a slump, that I was too driven and dedicated to reach such a lack of motivation and energy. However, as tends to occur, I was wrong.
Coming back to Swarthmore after your first year is pretty much impossible to do without slumping. Slumping is when sophomores hit peak procrastination and can’t find any kind of motivation to do their work. Although they know that it’s of absolute importance to get cracking on their assignments, they just can’t find any way to get it done. It’s hard to return from a summer of minimum wage jobs and plenty of relaxation time to hours of essays and problem sets. It hits you as soon as you come back, with deadlines looming immediately ahead of you. The fear of failing and not having the stellar grades you’ve always wanted is sitting in the back of your mind at all times. And this is the best part: as soon as these extreme feelings hit you, they stay with you for the entire semester. There’s never a break, not even when it’s technically break, because there is simply no way to forget about all the essays and all the responsibility left back in the academic buildings.
In addition to the typical stress of Swarthmore, sophomores are required to choose a major, and it feels like such a make-or-break decision. It’s as though the rest of our very long lives is dependent on this one decision (which it’s definitely not – you can change your major several times after your first decision!), and all we do is stress and freak out about it until we somehow manage to make a decision. Personally, I remember switching my projected major about seven times in just the short summer between freshman and sophomore year. This led to drastic amount of stress; however, it feels nice to have started figuring it out. After that, it seems that everyone starts comparing inadvertently, creating cliques dependent on who’s majoring in what, trying to find common ground with people we may or may not even have known about before this very trying year.
Well, now that I’ve got one semester of this terribly long year (almost) under my belt, I can feel myself starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, I know, we’ve got another entire semester left, with four to five new classes that are sure to kick our asses, but it’s spring semester. Everything is better in the spring semester. Not only are we moving towards warm weather, but there’s spring break and the wild trip that may entail, as well as the end of the semester which promises sun and relaxation for, like, three months. And for some of us, it even means going abroad and getting to avoid Swarthmore for an extra six months!
So yes, the sophomore slump sucks a lot, and getting through it may take all the sanity you have left in your being, but it gets better if you just choose to look at the bright side of it all (as long as the whole jaded junior concept isn’t a thing).