10 Steps to Cure the Sophomore Stagnation
Can you remember the excitement surrounding your first year of college? The new adventure that you couldn’t wait to begin, new books that cost you a fortune, making new friends, and stressing to earn the best grades possible. If you are like most students, your first year seemed to fly by without realizing it. Now you have entered your sophomore year, and you are not as excited anymore. The new has worn off and now you’re slowly detaching from the college experience. You know how to save money on textbooks, you know your classmates personally, and you just earned your first average that wasn’t an A. What’s going on? Are you losing your mind or losing grip on college? Are you burned out? Is this normal or are you alone in your thoughts of abnormality? You may be experiencing what I call, the sophomore stagnation. Also referred to as the “sophomore slump.” Don’t worry; you are not alone. Many students go through it, and many overcome it.
What is the sophomore stagnation? This is when your second year of college is not larger-than-life anymore. Most students would agree that the second year is not as glorious or mysterious as the first. Each student may experience one or more of the following situations:
1. Classes become harder and more challenging to maintain the 4.0.
2. Students relocate from beautiful freshman dorms to older boring dorms.
3. Full course meals consist of a top ramen and snickers bar.
4. The cost of necessities like deodorant has become a nemesis, and the lack of adequate sleep and nutrition has destroyed your ability to focus. 5. Social events have become a chore, and you have no energy for parties or fun.
6. Your mind is unable to detach from being a dedicated student and as a result, meeting friends for coffee is a waste of precious time that could be spent studying.
7. Your campus participation was something you enjoyed before, and now it has become an obligation.
Does this sound familiar? The good news is that you are completely normal. The bad news is that you should evaluate some things about your life and make some changes to recover from this diagnosis. Research studies offer many suggestions to get over sophomore stagnation, but I want to share my personal student action plan that worked for me.
1. Sleep- This is vital to brain and body functions. Yes, you MAKE time to sleep. You may need some assistance at times like a natural sleep aid to help you relax. Use them.
2. Acknowledge- Remember that you are human, and this means you are not perfect. If you have given your best, then why beat yourself up because you scored a bad grade? Brush your shoulders off and keep going. Failure is the quitter that never tried again.
3. Change- You have control of your feelings although they seem to overrule you. Life is about perspective. Change the way you look at your life. Mind over matter was a key concept in what the power of the mind can accomplish when provoked.
4. Relax- Read a book, take a hike, climb a mountain, explore a new hobby, play candy crush, or find a way to relax that is far away from anything related to college at least for one day a month. Use your breaks to mentally rejuvenate and recover from studying.
5. Reconnect- This does not include snap chat, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram updates telling everyone that you have come out of hiding. See a movie with peers, talk face to face with your adviser, find your biggest fan and talk to them about what is going on in college. Communicate on a personal level. This is harder than you think.
6. Refocus- Your junior year is coming up, so it’s time to evaluate your goals again. You are changing, and your experiences are defining the future you are creating.
7. Reflect- Remember why you are working diligently to earn your degree. Look through your brag book of accomplishments. Reflect on how much you have changed in such a small amount of time. You earned it, and you should be proud of yourself.
8. Prioritize- Time management and making a list of the most important tasks can help. If you learn how to micro manage your time, you will free your schedule for some needed down time throughout the semester. It works, try it.
9. Ask- Reach out to networks, resources, and your supporters. Yes, ASK FOR HELP. I know we are hard on ourselves and think we are super students, but there is nothing wrong with utilizing what’s there to help you along the way. If you aren’t involved with anyone or anything, this may be a good time to join a club or organization.
10. READ, APPLY, REPEAT- Copy these ten steps to your desktop, post them on your blog, print them and post them by the toilet, or just visit HonorSociety.org often and learn new tips to help you in college. Use your experience to help other students. We are succeeding together; you’re never alone.
Remember, failure is the quitter that never tried again. This is a stage that will pass and when it does you will have successfully recovered from the sophomore stagnation. College is a learning period of life, and the mind is being conditioned to live for the rest of your life. Just like the body needs recovery time from strenuous exercise, your brain needs time to recover too. Take care of yourself and make yourself the biggest priority in college. If you do this, your experience through college will be much more fulfilling and bright. Don't forget to stay positive; the sunshine is just over the horizon.