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How to Avoid the Sophomore Slump in College


People make a lot out of the difficulties faced by freshman students entering college. The truth is though that being a sophomore can sometimes be even harder. The drag of second year stagnation can be a real thing, as the rush from your first year slows into a dull appreciation of the length of the challenges ahead of you, and a continuing struggle to find yourself socially in the context of your school. These things can lead to a drop in performance in your second year. You can avoid that, however, with just a few simple adjustments in your attitude and approach.

Part of what discourages students in their second year is the overwhelming feeling that they are lost in the burden of new responsibilities, a feeling that remains after the initial glee of newfound independence fades. It's easy to psych yourself out of being able to enjoy your academic life, but it's hard to really succeed at anything you don't enjoy. Find enjoyment in your studies. Start by adding a class to your schedule just because you do enjoy it. Make friends with your classmates and set up regular study sessions...not just with people who are good students but with students who are good company. College is not a sprint, it's a marathon...and you don't want to burn yourself out just past the starting line.

In a sense, your Sophomore year probably constitutes the heart of your college experience. You've got your footing after your freshman year, but most of your time is still ahead of you. It's a good time to dig deeper into your experience. Find enjoyment in social clubs, student government, and other extra-curricular activities. It's not a matter of distracting yourself from your studies--that always has to be the main thing. Yet, you can't really enjoy your studies as much if you are not finding satisfaction in your overall experience. This mid-point in your college career is your time to establish the relationships that will carry you through the rest of your studies, and perhaps shape the memories that you will take with you afterwards. So don't wait around, get engaged with what's going on around you!

If these means of diversion for whatever reason don't seem to be enough it may be that you need to get away from the campus itself more than you are. Volunteering in the community locally can be a good way to do that, even as a part of a political campaign if you are an activist sort of personality. Rendering yourself of service to others is always one of the most rewarding things you can do, regardless of whether you are a student or not. Ironically, one of the best ways you might help yourself to deal with your college angst is by making yourself available to help others with theirs. Being a mentor to freshman students who are just beginning their college journey will likely help you put your own problems in perspective.

At the end of the day, human-beings are social animals. That very much goes for college students as well, whether your completing a Bachelors of Economics at UC Berkeley or UAB's online masters in information systems. Let the community you are a part of be a resource for you in enabling yourself to survive and thrive in your Sophomore year!

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