The parties, the dorms, the welcome events and the overall excitement of your freshman year doesn't compare to your sophomore year in even the slightest. The surge of meeting new people by the herds has slowed down, you are cracking down on your school work and the stress has seemed to sink in. You think that maybe because you are a second year, you should be getting your life together, and the pressure sinks in even more. You no longer have the excuse that your mistakes are because you are a freshman. Clubs and organizations you may have been so ecstatic to join in freshman year may seem mediocre. If any of this applies to you, not to worry. It applies to almost all of us struggling sophomores.
But do not feel like this is the end-all-be-all of your motivation in school. Spring semester is difficult for everyone, especially since there are fewer breaks and more midterms. The long stretch to summer seems to last forever, but there are some decisions I made that helped me stay motivated this year.
1. Get involved in something that challenges you
This was a huge factor in motivating me to do well in the overall year. In the beginning, I did not feel like I had anything to work towards. I was still in general education classes, and my major classes still seemed so far away. So I made the decision to apply to be an orientation leader, and it required a solid GPA, as well as a lengthy interview process. This motivated me to do well in my classes and overall become more social to help with my interviews. Joining something that is out of your comfort zone might feel risky, but will have great rewards in the end.
2. Take Initiative in your Classes
This will not only motivate you to go to class but also do well in class. It is really hard to muster the motivation to ask a question or go to office hours or take leadership in a group project. However, doing these things will help you get out of your slump. Trust me, it takes a little getting used to in order to switch into being a perfect student, but it will help you gear up for your third year. Making these small changes will help you prepare for being on top of your work when you get towards the harder classes.
3. Spend time on campus
This is a very small change, but very beneficial. I moved off-campus for my second year because the dorms were too expensive. I could imagine a lot of sophomores did the same thing, but its a culture change because for once, you are completely on your own. Also, you don’t run into your friends all the time and can feel somewhat isolated. When you take the time to study on campus or call one of your classmates to study in your hub, it will help you feel a little more connected to the school in which you reside.
4. Go to your school’s counselor.
This always seems to be a taboo topic, but it is completely normal to check in with a professional in times of doubt. Sophomore year feels like such a slowdown from freshman year, and it could come as a shock to some. I definitely was not prepared for the amount of independence and workload that was pushed upon me in the first semester. It almost burned me out for the spring semester, but I talked to my counselor and she helped me solve issues that I encountered before. It also helped with my overall underwhelming second-year experience and helped me get down to the reasoning behind it.
5. Have Fun!
Sophomore year is no excuse to never go out anymore. Your freshman year shouldn’t be the only year where you get to indulge yourself in some harmless fun! It is even more fun when you make friendships in new clubs, or form better connections with the ones you are in. Making these lasting friendships will make a lasting impression on your college experience. You do not want to look back on college years as the days where you nonstop studied and worked until your sanity was gone. It's good to have a balance, and you will definitely learn to find that in your second year.
Overall, second year is full of ups and downs, but it is a crucial year in figuring out where you stand in your life and where you want to go. I have made many decisions in this year that made me question who I am as a person, but I think that is all a part of the process. Understand that if you feel like you are stuck in a place that feels dull or uneventful, it is only up to you to change that! Don’t fall into the trap that sophomore year is supposed to feel like a slump.
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