If you’ve gone through or are about to enter college, you’ve probably heard of the Sophomore Slump. After the high of Freshman year, Sophomore year brings a lot of changes, and sometimes it can be a rough year. Having just finished my second year at college, I’ve brought you some tips and advice on how to survive the Sophomore Slump and have a second great year of college!
The Sophomore Slump is such a real thing, and I think it’s something that all colleges should address and work with students to help them through the hard times. Personally, this past year has consisted of a lot of loneliness and sadness and a loss of spirit, but I’ve found a few ways to keep myself happy and positive and on the right track. If you’re dealing with the Sophomore Slump, or any other kind of slump in your life, try a few of these tips and advice. Even a small change could make a huge difference!
*Never stop meeting new people and making new friends. Last fall, I returned for my second year of college with the mindset: “I already have great friends; why do I need to make new ones?”. I did not expect to experience loneliness. However, after a few weeks into my first semester of sophomore year, I realized that I was not only missing my real family, but I was also missing my college “family”. The girls I lived with on my hall last year became like family to me, but because most of them moved to different locations off-campus, we weren’t able to see each other very much. So eventually I started meeting new people and making new friends! Having friends in classes is such a blessing, even if it’s just for a year or even for a semester. And meeting new people is fun! Of course I still get with my good friends from past semesters, but it’s nice to know more people because there’s always someone available to grab lunch or just hangout.
*Start to get involved in clubs and leadership positions. If you are looking to make new friends, try joining some clubs! If you’re already in a bunch of clubs, start looking to get involved in leadership positions. I’m on the executive team for one of my clubs, and I’ve become good friends with a couple of the other exec members. We’re all working towards a goal but having fun along way, and achieving the end product of a successful meeting or event brings us closer as friends. Not only will clubs and leadership positions look good on a resume, but it fills up time and encourages responsibility, organization, and proactiveness.
*Don’t compare the present to the past. There’s nothing worse for your current situation than comparing it to the past. As we get older, our memories start to fine-tune and focus on the happy memories from years gone by. Therefore, our perspective on the past is seen through rose-colored glasses. We start to think “Oh, last year’s classes were so easy compared to this semester’s classes” or “I was never alone last year; I always had my friends with me”. But rewind the time, and I can vaguely remember stressing over quite a few tests and there were some days last year I spent gloomily alone in my dorm room. Don’t stay stuck in the past, and try to make good memories where you are because those are the ones that will remain in your memory.
*Find Ways to Stay Happy. If loneliness and nostalgia are getting you down, find new ways to keep you happy! I taught myself a few new habits to combat the gloomies, and they’ve really helped! Earlier in the year I posted about my Happiness Journal, which is a small notebook where I record the small daily things that make me happy. There are so many small moments of happiness, from warm laundry to family cuddles and pretty clouds to the smell of dirt. I’ve found making a small effort to notice these things creates a big effect.
Another way I stay happy and retain a positive self-image is by smiling every time I look at myself in the mirror. I also wrote about this during my Happiness Project, but basically if I see myself happy in the mirror, I’ll feel happier. There’s nothing gloomier than seeing a gloomy face!
My final piece of advice for staying positive is to splurge or treat yourself every so often. Whether it’s a yummy smoothie, a fun workout class, or a game-night in with your friends, take some time to do what you love!
*Experiment! Now that you’re more settled in to college, start to change things up! You may have “reinvented” yourself as a Freshman, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep trying out new things! This year I started experimenting with my wardrobe and different exercises. I tried out a capsule wardrobe, and discovered I really liked it! I’ve tried out lots of different foods, both from campus dining halls and making things in my dorm (like simple but delicious baked cinnamon apple slices). I’ve also tried out a variety of group fitness classes including boxing, HIIT, barre, TRX, core training, yoga, step and sculpt, and strength training. Every class has made me go back again for more! By trying new things you keep your college schedule interesting, and you never know what you’ll discover!
*Go crazy sometimes. College is notorious for the sudden freedom young adults experience as we learn to live on our own and tackle life’s adventures. While parties and alcohol are one way to go a little crazy, there are lots of other alternatives that are fun but don’t involve the party scene. Taking spontaneous trips has become one of my favorite ways to let loose, and I’ve traveled to some pretty cool places with some pretty cool people! Trips are great on the weekend, but if it’s a Tuesday night and my friends and I are a little antsy, we’ll sometimes go for a random late-night food adventure: ice cream and hushpuppies are our favorites! Sometimes all it takes to let off some stress is a dance party in your dorm room. One morning I played DJ and had a silly dance session with my roommate before we went off to classes. Some of these fun moments will become fond memories to look back on. A lot of ways to go crazy involve stepping outside of your comfort zone, whether that means being okay with looking silly or doing something you’ve never done before. Say yes to adventure, and you may just end up somewhere wonderful!
*Clean your bathroom! Okay, I probably sound like your mom right now, but hang with me for a second. Not only does it feel great to live in a clean space, but just the small accomplishment of cleaning off the sink or wiping down the mirror can put me in a better mood. There’s nothing better than checking something off your “to-do list”, even if it’s something small! So whether you lived with a hall bathroom last year and are now off campus or you now have a suite bathroom, it’s your job to clean the bathroom. A clean bathroom will keep you healthier too. Plus, does anyone else clean as a stress-reliever? If you haven’t tried it, you should!
*But understand that uncleanliness is part of college. Continuing with the bathroom theme, college bathrooms seem to come with pre-downloaded mold. No matter how hard you scrub those white tiles, they’ll still have some yucky spots on them. And that’s okay! Daily activities like walking around outside or riding the bus will put yucky stuff on your shoes and then onto the floor. If you’re a partier there’s all sorts of stickiness and stains that come with that. Try to prevent it, but don’t obsess over it. Nothing in life is perfectly polished and sparkly.
*Finding food may become da struggle, so plan ahead. Let’s start off with a personal example from my life: this past year, the nearest food was a five minute walk uphill from my dorm. I know you’re probably reading this and thinking “that’s not bad at all. What a lazy college student!”, but when I’m in my pjs after a long day of classes, I’m not about to close down my computer, get out of bed, put on shoes, walk all the way there to realize it closed ten minutes ago, walk another few minutes downhill (meaning an uphill walk on the way back) and get average college-food I’ve eaten a million times before. I’d rather just semi-starve until breakfast. To plan for those days where I’m too worn out to grab food, I started getting extra food to put in my dorm or I would eat before I returned to my room after classes. That way, if I found myself not wanting to leave my room for food, I could at least have a baked sweet potato or applesauce or pancakes to tide me over until my next meal.
*Find your nook or cranny on campus. I mentioned this in my College Bloggers post, and finding a special sport is still part of my college routine. Having a place in between school and home is crucial in staying sane and happy. Last year it was an outdoor place on the outskirts of my campus, and this year it’s one of the student hangout places with a cozy and fun atmosphere (and warm Auntie Anne’s pretzels. Yum!). The first time I went to the student hangout, it happened to be an Open Mic Night, and I was serenaded for about three hours straight while doing my econ homework. Can you see why it became my new favorite spot on campus?
*Make sure your top priority is yourself. This is the biggest piece of advice I have for anyone reading this, no matter where you are in life. You are your biggest priority. This was a key point I made in my post about finals, and it applies to every aspect of your life. If you don’t want to hang out with your roommate or be in your dorm room all the time, don’t. Find some other place or activity that you enjoy to fill your time. If you’re not happy where you are in your life, look for a way to make a productive and positive change. While donuts, pizza, and takeout are easy, give the extra bit of effort for you body to stay physically healthy (which keeps your brain healthy and happy too). Speaking of food, don’t forget to eat! One poster I see everywhere on my campus reads “you’ve got a lot on your plate, don’t forget to leave space for food”. Fuel is important! One final tip to taking care of yourself is getting out of your bed and going outside. You’ll sleep better, the fresh air will make you happier, and you might run into a friend or acquaintance, which could cheer up your day! However you go through life, know that you are valued and important, and you deserve to be happy and to be a priority. 🙂
That was a whole lot of advice! Most of these aren’t just applicable for sophomores, but for people at all life stages too. Hopefully you found something that resonated with you. What’s your best piece of advice?