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Beware of the Sophomore Slump


Sometimes it creeps up slowly.  You are excited to go back to college for your sophomore year, but all of sudden, you realize, you are not happy.  You hate taking general education classes that you have little to no interest in.  You either want to jump right into your major classes or you are feeling anxious because you have not idea what your major will be.  You did not get to live the residence hall you wanted, which is totally going to ruin your social life.  To top it off, you go back to school and there is no parade.  No herd of orientation leaders to help you move in.  No one saying, “We are so glad you are here!”  No organized social engagements and no one to tell you where you first class will be.  What happened?  Why is sophomore year so different?
If any of these thoughts sound familiar to you, you may have a case of sophomore slump.  Colleges spend so much energy making sure that their freshman class is oriented and well adjusted to campus, that they often neglect the “middle child”; the sophomores.
Sophomore year is an important year.  This is when you start establishing yourself on campus.  You may be taking on a leadership role in a club or on an athletic team.  You may be starting to explore options for internships or studying abroad.  You also need to start exploring majors.  So many decisions to make!  It can be overwhelming and not every university is great about reaching out to sophomores to help.
If you are starting to feel a little lost, here are a few tips of resources to look out for on your campus to help remedy the sophomore slump.

  1. Sophomore Year Experience.  Some colleges are on the ball and offer a program that is similar to what you experienced your freshman year.  It can have many names and many forms, but the premise is to get sophomores together in some form of group advising format. This may happen through an academic advisor, a course or even in the residence halls.  So, search your college’s website, ask your RA or orientation leader from last year.  Find out if this program exists where you are and then take full advantage of it.
  2. Can’t decide on a major? Visit Career Services.  Deciding on a major can be very stressful.  Some students don’t know where to begin.  Your Career Services office should be able to help.  The first step may be to take some career assessments.  These tests may give you a general idea of career options.  Once you have some options, continue to explore that career.  Find out if there is anyone you know who does that job and do an informational interview.  This also a great way to learn about internship options. Career Services may also host a variety of programs in order to help you pick a career or major.  Internship fairs, career panels and guest speakers are all great events to participate in order to help you narrow down your career interest.
  3. Get to know your professors.  Once you have some career options to explore, start talking to professors in departments associated with those particular careers.  If you are nervous about approaching professors you don’t know, ask a professor you do know to introduce you.
  4. Continue to be involved.  Just because you are a sophomore, does not mean you can’t try something new. Attend the club fair they hold for freshmen.  Sign up for anything interesting.  Branch out.
  5. Mentor someone.  Nothing can reinvigorate your love for your college like passing your knowledge along to someone new.  Find out how you can help incoming freshmen or transfer students.  This experience will help you focus on what you love about your college experience.

If you are in high school and just beginning your college search, make sure to look for some of these resources when you are visiting campuses.  Most admissions offices are quick to point out programs for freshmen, but you may need to ask about what is available beyond your first year.
If you currently have a case of “sophomore slump,” remember that it is only a temporary condition.  Once you find your way, you will love your college again!
Katherine Price
Senior Associate


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