Sophomore slump (n): an instance in which students in their second year fail to live up to the success achieved during their first year at an institution of higher learning
Going into my second year at William & Mary, a friend advised me to “beware of the sophomore slump”. I was taken aback- I never really thought about how it would be different to not be a freshman. As a freshman, you have a certain amount of leeway, and as a junior or senior, you have a certain amount of authority. So where does that leave us poor sophomores? We’re left reminiscing about our freshman halls, overcommitted with clubs, and suddenly having to seriously figure out our major. Being a sophomore means being at the bottom of the housing lottery and still stuck with terrible registrations. No wonder people fall into that so-called “slump”.
My opinion? College is far too short to waste a year in a slump. Sure, being a sophomore has its downfalls. But in my mind, it has one major, major perk: We’re old enough to know, but young enough not to say “no”.
Let me explain.
As sophomores, we know our way around campus. We’ve figured out our study habits and have explored any number of clubs and activities. We’ve found friends and are starting to figure out our majors. In other words, we’ve spread our roots and begun to establish ourselves on the William & Mary campus. But we still have a lot more growing to do.
Essentially, we are still trying to figure out the person we are going to become after college. But there is something to be said for being uncertain. Uncertainty allows us to take risks, to make mistakes, and to discover new passions. When we don’t know what road we’re headed down, we’re more likely to take the scenic route to try and figure it out.
My goal as a sophomore? Never miss an opportunity. I want to take a class just so I know it’s what I don’t want to major in. I want to allow myself to not think about the future and instead focus on today. I want to join a club where I don’t know a single person just because it sounds interesting. In essence, I want to clutch this precious little time I have left before I need to worry about applications and interviews.
Sophomore year is not a time for a slump. It’s a time for exploration, expansion and enthusiasm. We’re old enough to have a sense of self, but young enough to want to take risks. With the real world in the not-so-distant future, we need to embrace this year and take advantage of everything it has to offer.