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The “Sophomore Slump” Doesn’t Just Happen to Sophomores

               When I was in high school, and even a freshman in college, we were warned about the sophomore slump that would inevitably happen in college. This is like, a weird period of disappointment and confusion because you just can’t keep up with how you performed during your freshman year. It also is a period of uncertainty in your college career because usually this is the point where you’re expected to declare your major and seek out high impact activities and other things that will impact the rest of your academic career. This also supposedly happen in high school, with a repeat performance in senior year, but we’re not in high school anymore. I’m sure at least some people know what I’m talking about here, though.

            It seems kind of ridiculous when you first hear about it, because they usually tell you when you’re a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed freshman who vowed to put your all into everything that you do like a good college student does. You think that this isn’t going to happen to you and that you’re going to get along just fine. But then it actually hits and it hits hard.

            Of course, the thing that they don’t really tell you is that the sophomore slump isn’t exclusive to sophomore year. I was a second semester freshman when the coronavirus pandemic really began and that’s when my sophomore slump really began, personally. It lasted until my fall semester of sophomore year, right around when the second mod began for the semester. Granted, this is a period of extreme circumstances and no one can be expected to function even kind of normally during this time, but it still happened to me, along with tons of other people all over the world.

            The other thing they don’t tell you? It’s not just laziness. I feel like a lot of people act like the sophomore slump is just students being lazy because they feel like they can get away with it, but that’s far from the truth. Sophomore slump kind of feels like a depression episode and an anxiety attack rolled up into one. This is especially true if you’re from a marginalized community, if you’re disabled, or if the world is going to absolute chaos. I feel like the narrative that the sophomore slump is just plain laziness is harmful to people, especially with the prevalence that it’s supposedly at. If you feel the need to warn every freshman about the sophomore slump, doesn’t that say more about the institution than it does about the individuals?

            To make a long story short, the sophomore slump as a period of fatigue and uncertainty is a thing that actually happens. However, I’ve found that it’s not exclusive to sophomore year and it’s not just people being lazy. Especially during a pandemic that’s been raging on for a year now. Definitely during a pandemic that’s been raging on for a year. So maybe, could we give students a break, especially when they’re just trying to keep their heads above water right now?


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