At the beginning of freshman year, everything is so new and exciting. Every first-year student is in the same boat when it comes to making new friends, navigating new classes and weighing different majors. Many of us are told we have such a long time to figure out what we want to study and not to worry, so we don’t. Then sophomore year rolls around and some of us start to freak out. Not only do we have less time to figure out what we’re majoring in, but many of us feel lost, confused and exhausted. The sophomore slump refers to the struggles, fears and fatigue we feel in our second year.
As the exhilaration of freshman year fades into the monotony of sophomore year, there’s little new excitement and many tend to feel burnt out. Alongside the day to day movements, classes become harder and hours of homework start to pile up. As schoolwork and responsibilities pile on, more and more stress builds. Four years seems like a short amount of time in the long run, but when multitudes of stress and anxiety build up, it can feel like a lot longer by year two.
As a sophomore myself, I’ve noticed the vast difference between last year and this year, both academically and socially. At this time last year, everything was new to me, so it was exciting to try to figure it out. Things are no longer new this year, but they’re also no longer exciting to figure out. Last year, it was fun to go out, meet new people and experience the “Michigan experience” as a freshman. This year, I don’t have nearly as much enthusiasm for going out and, with friend groups already established, it seems no one is trying to meet new people anymore. As someone pursuing dual degrees, feeling the pressure to declare my major and fit everything into my schedule is not fun. It’s tiring, draining and stressful. Sometimes, it feels like I’m simply scraping by. I know this is a sentiment many sophomores share on campus.
Seth Corba is a sophomore in the School of Nursing. It’s widely known that studies in the medical field tend to be challenging, and may often require a greater time commitment than liberal arts degrees. Corba decided to study nursing because, as he said, he was “in hospitals a lot growing up, so the healthcare professionals around me inspired me to have a career in that field and be able to help people as much as they did.” While he enjoys his field of study, sophomore year has come with some setbacks. “The workload increases a lot since freshman year because the classes just get much more difficult and I am feeling fatigued, burnt out and overwhelmed.” Overwhelming classes, work and the dawning of the long four-year haul of getting your degree(s) can all lead to this slump.
It may seem daunting, but sophomores can beat the slump. According to the University of Texas at Dallas, it’s critical to prioritize both physical and mental health first. Drowning in homework and not feeling like you’re living up to your expectations can really take a toll on you, so it’s important to take time to care for yourself and seek out support if you need help. To combat his sophomore slump, Corba said he is taking time to just “exist as a student. I’ve also been spending a lot of time in nature to center myself outside of school along with spending time with those I love.” Sophomore year is stressful for a lot of us, but it’s important to remember that we’re not alone in feeling this way. If you’re struggling mentally, CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) is a program here on campus that is available to all students for counseling and mental health services. The sophomore slump can make you feel burnt out, but it is completely normal to feel this way, especially at a school as academically challenging and competitive as the University of Michigan.
Katie Maraldo is an Opinion Columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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