Avoiding the Sophomore Slump (page 2)

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Apr 30, 2014

Other Ways To Avoid The Slump

Others who fall victim to the sophomore slump typically point to the same root causes: (1) a failure to find a major that provides sufficient intellectual stimulation and interest; (2) a failure to connect with a network of friends; (3) a failure to "plug in" to a meaningful extracurricular activity or two outside the classroom to give texture and relevance to their experience; and (4) the feeling of bloat, lethargy, and lack of energy that comes from poor diet and a failure to exercise.

Obviously, each of these causes has a remedy, and some of them even tie in with each other. If your proposed major "just isn't doing it for you," don't be afraid to toss it overboard and start anew. If you haven't found your way yet, don't panic. Many of us didn't declare a major until the very end of sophomore year. What you need to do, though, is spend some time with your college's course catalogue and look around for course titles and subjects that pique your interest as you browse the catalogue, and sit in on a lecture or two, even if you're not registered for the classes. Taking little steps like these can quickly confirm a new direction in your coursework for you"and put you right on track.

If you have thus far failed to connect with a group of people on campus, perhaps it is because you are not being social enough. Are you spending your days in the classroom and your nights in the library, without getting out some or getting involved in any of the goings-on out on campus? If so, force yourself to engage more with your roommates, your classmates, and the people around you. At no other time in your life will you ever again be surrounded by so many people of similar age with such similar goals, fears, aspirations, and concerns. There are natural connections to be made all over the place. All it takes is a little courage.

If your roommates or classmates aren't presenting you with any obviously at­tractive options, seek out an interesting extracurricular activity or two to get involved with on campus. Perhaps working for a social service organization, teaching inner-city kids, writing for the newspaper or one of the campus magazines, or getting involved with a theater group or one of the nearly infinite number of clubs on campus is just what you need to inject some meaning and enjoyment into your life. If you played a sport in high school but opted not to play in college, perhaps you could get involved with that sport on the club or intramural level. This will allow you to meet new people, exercise, and have some fun - providing three antidotes to the slump in one shot.

"The secret to avoiding the Sophomore Slump is breaking away from your routines and trying new things," Dave suggests. "People get so caught up in their schedules that they forget that there is a whole community out there that they have never reached out to. It could be as simple as taking a class you wouldn't usually take or maybe it is having a night every week where you get together and cook dinner with a group of people. Whatever it is for you, beginning to develop new and innovative twists that get you outside of your little bubble is a good way to change it up and keep things interesting and exciting."

If you're feeling down, there is no quicker remedy for that than exercise. Be­come involved with something that forces you to get out and move every day. Go to the gym every day. Start running, biking, or blading, and get hooked up with one of the many groups on campus that do the activity daily. Take up yoga, Pilates, or meditation. Go to the campus bookstore and pick up a book on diet and nutrition - and impose some changes.

Shake things up a bit. Don't allow yourself to descend into a rut.

And of course, there is no remedy for the slump like love. Have the courage to date. If you want to get to know someone, ask him or her to have a cup of coffee, catch a movie together on campus, or ask one of your roommates to set you up at the next "Screw Your Roommate" dance. Finding a love interest on campus, even for a short time, can really inject some new life into your experience.

The sophomore slump is real, but it is beatable. If you find yourself bummed out at any time during your sophomore year, see if it isn't because one or more of the aforementioned causes has taken root in your life. Root them out and get back on track.


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