Originally posted on NextGenJournal.com. For original, please refer to: Avoiding the Sophomore Slump, from Someone Who Experienced It – NextGen Journal.
My first two years at Loyola Marymount University were exactly the opposite of what you’d expect: I thrived in my freshman year, but just survived my sophomore year. While there were plenty of factors that went into that, some far beyond what an incoming sophomore might typically face, there were definitely some growing pains that almost every student can take care to avoid. So here are the best three bits of advice I would want to impart to any students entering their second year looking to avoid that sophomore slump.
1. Be flexible in your friendships
Not every person you forged a friendship with last year is going to remain a friend the next year. This is, of course, a recurring theme in every year of life, but it’s especially prominent when coming off your freshman year. People grow and change significantly in college, and often, that growth in your sophomore year can send people you once felt very close to in a completely different direction. If you’re feeling that separation growing and you think it’s not a momentary bump in the road but rather indicative of a greater trend, don’t fight it. Roll with it. Make peace with it. But most importantly, don’t let it impair you from making new friendships.
Believe it or not, you didn’t meet everyone worth their salt in one year. Even on the smallest college campuses, there are always more people to meet and get to know. You won’t like all of them, of course, but many of them you will. Some you’ll even love. Some will likely even surpass your freshman friends in how close you get to them. College is a four-year experience for a reason. Speaking of which…
2. Don’t waste your time
Guess what? You’re done with 25 percent of your four-year college career! Doesn’t it feel like it was just yesterday that you were moving in for your freshman year? Well, rest assured, sophomore year goes even faster, and at the end, you’re left wondering, ‘Where did half my college career go?’ It’s a feeling somewhat akin to getting punched in the stomach.
There’s no time to waste a single moment. No matter what school you go to, what you’re involved in or what you’re studying, you’ve got to seize the moment and do things you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t blow off your work, but also don’t let it be an impediment to doing what you want to do. You’ve got a limited amount of time, so use it well!
3. Find your passion
Most colleges require a declaration of major by the end of sophomore year, so there’s no better time to start figuring out what you want to do with your life. What classes have you taken that interested you? Continue learning about what inspires and drives you, and find career opportunities within that area. Be ready for every shift in the winds – even if you’re majoring in something else (say, screenwriting) but you’re given an incredible opportunity (say, the Arts & Entertainment Editor position at your campus paper) that launches you in a totally different direction (say, towards journalism – not that I’m taking all these examples from anywhere in particular, no sir).
Last year taught me that you can never be quite sure of where you’re going to end up, especially in college. Think of sophomore year as a transition year on a television show. The cast may change some and there may be a new theme, but you’re invested, and you’re not gonna bail any time soon. The only thing you can do is brace for what’s to come and watch what happens.