The Ugly Truth About Sophomore Year

Wikipedia defines sophomore slump as “an instance in which a sophomore effort fails to live up to the standards of the first effort.” Most people associate this curious phenomenon in relations to grades and GPA, but from my personal experience, it is a lot more than that. Sophomore slump affects each student differently, and it may not even hit you until senior year or not at all. This post may get a little personal, but I’m here to tell you about it because sophomore slump is definitely real and it is much more than just a slump in your grades.

Like I said, every person has a different experience, but for me, it started one day when I was sitting in my art history class, and I started to wonder, What am I going to do with my life? And that question led to a bunch of other questions like, What is my life going to be like after college? Is this the right path for me? I started to doubt myself, my aspirations, my future, and lost the fiery motivation for academics I used to have in my freshman year. The worries and loss of motivation quickly turned into anxiety, and it began to affect both my mental and physical health.

I could barely get out of bed in the mornings to attend my classes. During weekends, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep. Every time I logged onto Facebook or some other social networking site and saw my friends going somewhere with their lives, I felt even more anxious. Before hitting this slump, I would call home every week, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that anymore because I was afraid of breaking down in front of people I love the most. In other words, I completely shut myself down

Sophomore Slump

Some might say this doesn’t sound very serious. I mean, we all question ourselves from time to time, and it’s not like I never had these worries about my future before. But when I realized just how much these worries were affecting me, I was already deep in the sophomore slump. Looking back on it now, I cannot stress enough how important it is to pay attention to your emotions, and if you think something is wrong, don’t just dismiss it.

So how did I get through it? I wish I had a clear answer as to how to overcome sophomore slump, but I don’t have one because, again, everyone’s experience is different. But what I can tell you is that there are many options out there to help you, both in and out of school, and that you can eventually find your way out of the slump.

The most helpful thing for me was talking to other students, especially older students who already went through their sophomore slump. When I talked to some of my senior friends, they all told me either, 1) they went through the same thing, and they all recovered, and 2) they are going through it right now, even after four years of college. Talking to them made me realize that what I am feeling is completely normal, and that I am not the only one. Just realizing these two things alone reassured me that I was going to be all right.

Another resource that can help you get through your slump is the University Counseling Center (UCC). The center provides counseling and various other services, such as individual therapy and group therapy, to any problems you may have. You can walk in any time you want, and it is completely free. I have friends who have taken advantage of this resource, and they always tell me that what they thought was going to be an intimidating experience turns out to be a really helpful one.

In the end, sophomore year is over for me and I have survived the sophomore slump. It’s been a rough year for me, but I have learned a lot about myself and how to deal with emotions. I hope that you, whoever is reading this, don’t fall into a slump, but everyone does once in a while, and it’s totally okay.

About the author

YooJung Chun

I'm a member of the Class of 2018, and I am majoring in art history. I was born in Seoul, South Korea, before moving to Chicago. I'm the Publicity Chair for the Korean American Students' Association, and I also take piano lessons at the Eastman School of Music.

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