Upperclassmen say it gets better
Sophomore year: that awkward middle year between the excitement of freshman year and the anticipation of upperclassman glory. Freshman year is new, and opportunities seem endless, but sophomore year is filled with changes, independence and seemingly endless responsibilities.
Many students agree that they experienced the sophomore slump at some point during their second year of college — the time when school feels monotonous and any sort of motivation is gone.
“Everything felt like it was never going to end,” said Jordan Bobbitt, a third-year human development major. “I really felt like I was going to be trapped in Davis forever.”
As a third-year, Bobbitt has insight on both the sophomore slump and the rewards of getting through it. She also found a silver-lining in the year of responsibility and self-realization.
“[Extracurriculars] were making me happy since schoolwork seemed daunting,” Bobbitt said. “Once I was able to expand my horizons in terms of opportunities I pursued, […] I was really able to maximize my experience in Davis.”
Bobbitt said there are changes that go hand-in-hand with sophomore year, just as there were in freshman year. Though students typically overlook these adjustments.
“When people get kind of bummed out sophomore year, it makes total sense because nothing is the same as it was the year before,” Bobbitt said. “There are so many different factors wrong for so long. Going through [the slump] can be really dark […] because it does kind of feel like it’s never-ending. Plus, it’s the first year where you’re not in the dorms — that geographical change has a big effect on just adjusting to Davis again.”
Along with adapting to new living situations, Bobbitt addressed the daunting task of deciding on a major and sticking with it. During their second year, sophomores are still testing the waters and figuring out what they enjoy and what they want their lives to look like in the future.
“Not knowing what you’re working toward yet has kind of taken away from the experience,” explained Nick Moran, a second-year undeclared major.
As a second-year, Moran is smack-dab in the middle of the sophomore slump. He has even considered looking into other schools, however, he has decided to “stick it” through and stay in Davis since he feels he will benefit the most from it in the long run.
“The greater picture is that I’m at a really good school and I’m going to get a degree that is going to springboard me to things I want to do later in life,” Moran said.
Originally from Southern California, Moran explained that there are many things he had at home that he does not have in Davis, like a nearby beach and Downtown Los Angeles within driving distance. So compared to his hometown, Davis can feel isolated.
He made clear, however, that the lack of social aspects in Davis compared to Los Angeles is a “pretty small price to pay” in the grand scheme of things.
“For academic needs, Davis is a great school,” he added.
Moran explained that by shifting his mindset and expectations, he feels he will get through the slump and continue on the remarkable, yet daunting journey of sophomore year.
“I had a lot of low points in the year where I was getting really down on myself for not doing well and not being able to find motivation,” said Nick von Schlegell, a third-year environmental science and management major. “It was really hard to find motivation to keep trying. I switched my major a bunch of times and was just kinda really getting over school.”
It seems that the sophomore class is hit the hardest by a lack of motivation. How then does one get over the slump and find that motivation again?
According to von Schlegell, thinking about his future and the importance of graduation has helped him gain more academic motivation.
In addition, taking upper division classes helped him realize what he found interesting.
It was “diving into the things” he enjoyed “rather than just taking [general education] classes that were making [him] anxious” that helped him defeat the slump.
The changes that come with sophomore year “can shock your system a little bit,” according to von Schlegell. “You’re still settling into college but also doing something completely different from what you were doing last year and being completely independent is something that definitely adds to that stress.”
The takeaway from these students is that the notorious sophomore slump is indeed a low point of college. Despite the lack of motivation, the increased responsibility and the continual search for self-assurance, the sophomore slump does come to an end.
“It does get better,” Bobbitt assured. “It really does.”
Written by: Sierra Jimenez — firstname.lastname@example.org