A Look into Sophomore Slump

Jayden Ha, a sophomore, slumps // photo by Emma David

Jayden Ha, a sophomore, slumps // photo by Emma David

“Sophomore slump,” a term thrown around by many upperclassmen, is certainly a reality for some second years at CMC. Generally, the slump has been characterized by a dissatisfaction of sophomore year performance, specifically diminished academic interest and feelings of social disconnect.

Sophomore year seems like it should be the best year of college. Unlike seniors, you aren’t worried about securing a job after graduation. Unlike juniors abroad, you’re living with friends on campus, and unlike transitioning first-years, you’re familiar navigating through CMC.

However, you still might find yourself with no motivation to start that essay or find an outfit for TNC. You might find yourself feeling completely overwhelmed with the extracurriculars you had eagerly applied for last year. Good news is, you’re not alone.

While first-years are preoccupied with orienting themselves to a new environment and understanding how to navigate their first year of college, sophomores, in theory, should be more settled. “Now that we’ve been here for a year, we know our way around for the most part, and we’re a little more comfortable,” Class President Johnson Lin ’21 said.

As a sophomore, you’ve already been to on-campus events, experienced living with a random roommate (or two), and know what to expect from a college course. All of these factors should ideally set you up for a relaxing year.

However, this progression to a more routine lifestyle might make someone feel as though they’re just spinning their wheels, lacking enthusiasm or motivation. “This year is mainly just about going through the motions,” Jayden Ha ’21 said when asked about his thoughts on academic motivation. “I know I have to do it [schoolwork] to do well and do what I am interested in. I know I need it to succeed.”

While a mundane, routine schedule may seem to call for some kind of fun release to balance it out, sophomores may also lose the motivation to socialize. Where you had once gone out every weekend, your priorities might have changed – “I personally see myself going out a lot less to focus on other aspects of my life,” said Ha.

Ha also noted how party engagement is often used as a metric of motivation, when in reality it could just reflect a change in priorities. “Sophomore slump isn’t about energy for me,” Ha said. “It’s more so about figuring out your top priority. You think about what you can do for people and about yourself in the bigger picture, and sometimes, that means not going out.”

Getting a few extra hours of sleep or working on an application could now take priority over partying. “Maybe freshmen year we blew it off a little more,” Lin said, speaking to the balance between working and going out. “People weren’t so worried about classes, GPA and majors.”

“A good amount of people have found their group and know who they’re comfortable with. They feel less pressure to go out and put themselves out there. There’s less of a need to have this massive social experience,” shared Lin.

“Sophomores just put less effort into going out,” Hannah Abouchar ’21 said when asked about the party scene.

The dwindling party attendance of sophomores can also turn around and exacerbate the slump. “You make the choice to finally go out and then you see that no one from your grade is at the party. It’s easy to question why you even made time to go out instead of catching up on a few more hours of sleep or getting ahead in school,” Abouchar said.

Not seeing people as much on the weekends can generate feelings of social disconnect with your grade. Abouchar also recognized that the tendency to room with friends as sophomores heightens the disconnect.

“The people you’re close with are most likely your roommate or suitemates this year, so you tend to hang out and get meals with them. Everything’s central to where you live,” Abouchar said. “Freshman year was more of an effort, but this year it’s about convenience.”

While Sophomore slump may not show up for everyone and manifest itself differently for each student, the slump is still a reality for some.