From the first few weeks of the school year, I heard my classmates casually toss around the phrase ‘sophomore slump’ to excuse an early dip in academic performance. It was a joke because there were far more concrete reasons to explain receiving a “C” on several assignments at the start of sophomore year: tougher classes, more activities, pledging. Certainly, it seemed like nothing to worry about; it was only temporary thing, right?
However, the ‘slump’ soon seemed to spread into other aspects of college life. It was becoming a common sentiment that this year was going to be a disappointment. Socially and academically, sophomores seemed unsatisfied. Higher level courses were translating to less success and less free time. Also, the thrill of freshmen year had created in us lofty ideas about what to expect sophomore year, ideas that weren’t always realized. The threat of the slump turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy, and before many of us noticed, we were tricked into believing that sophomore year was a letdown.
Oftentimes, I found myself, and my peers, with a general lack of motivation toward classes or activities. Even going out seemed less exciting! Some people actually said they were sick of the Jug or sick of going out at Colgate. It wasn’t that people were having bad experiences; it was just getting old. The novelty of college and its escapades had worn off. Pretty much sophomores can predict how their evenings will turn out. Whereas last year every crowded freshmen night at the Jug was an adventure, this year, before I get there I can tell you who will be out and the exact playlist for the night.
But that doesn’t make me stop going, and it most definitely doesn’t mean I don’t have fun. It’s just a slightly different experience this year. Like many Colgate students, I was lucky enough to have a fantastic freshmen experience. I came here and found amazing opportunities, was satisfied with my marks, and made tons of friends. But if that’s the criteria I use to judge, then sophomore year had to surpass it. Being a sophomore allowed me to get more actively involved in the clubs and activities I do here. I got to take classes that were in my major and areas of interest. For most of us, housing was an improvement (yay! single rooms!). I met more people, and made even more friends, but I also got closer with my best friends here. So it really was another amazing year. There was no sophomore slump. It was a myth.
Part of what made freshmen year fun, was that everything was new. People who believe they’re caught in the sophomore slump say that because nothing’s new this year, it isn’t as fun. In fact, I think the opposite is true. Knowing how to handle classes and how to navigate the social scene allows you to maximize your experience. At the beginning of sophomore year, the almost three years left until graduation seemed daunting. Now, it’s a relief to know that I still have half of college to enjoy and grow.
The slump is sometimes associated with sophomore year because people call it the forgotten year. But what’s to forget? With the beginning of Greek life, declaring a major and planning to spend a semester abroad, sophomores have a lot going on. College is, of course, what you make of it. The more you buy into the sophomore slump, the less satisfied you’ll be with your year. Yes, things start to get repetitive; that’s one reason why so many people go away junior year. Still, there are plenty of ways in which sophomore year is better than the first, and as long as you don’t allow it to, the slump cannot ruin your experience.