University of California

The sophomore slump is real– fight it with these tips

It was the beginning of my sophomore year of college, and I was filled to brim with excitement with what was ahead in the next 30 weeks. Energized after a successful first year of college, I prematurely committed myself to doing every single assigned reading, attending a myriad of campus events, and showing up ten minutes early to every class – even 8 a.m. philosophy lectures.

As well intended as I was, these goals did not last for long. I moved from an on-campus dorm to an off-campus apartment, which created immediate loneliness and the lack of a physical space to complete my studying. I quickly found myself lacking motivation to complete my readings or to study for the weekly quizzes, and my grades began to slip as a result. It wasn’t that I no longer cared; it was that I was still idealistically drained from my first year. I thought everything would run as smooth and seamless as elements of my first year of college were like, but I was wrong,

Sophomore slump can be tough, but you’re much tougher. As you prepare to enter your second year of college, follow these tips to proactively fight the feeling of apathy and procrastination, and be prepared to slay your way throughout college!

Be conscious of how your home environment will affect your study habits. During my first year of college, I lived on-campus, where I had meal plans, 24-hour study rooms, a plethora of study buddies, computer labs, and access to the gym across the street. It was a dream.

During my second year, I moved two miles away from campus, which had quite an effect on my academic performance. It was harder to find motivation wake up early and walk 30-45 minutes to campus just to make it to my lecture, and I found myself so exhausted by the end of the day, I would fall asleep on my bed once I got home. My apartment didn’t have any desks or study spaces like I was used to, and I found myself trying to study on my bed. Both my roommates at the time were graduate students, unlike my first year, where several of my hallmates were also my classmates.

I’m not saying off-campus apartments or commuting from home are bad, but they do warrant consideration of how it will affect your study habits and academic performance. If I could do my sophomore year of college over again, I would make every attempt to live on campus to have the same access to resources that my peers did.

If you’re commuting from a decent distance, consider this when you plan your classes. Do you really want to wake up at 6 a.m. to make it on time to your 8 a.m. class, or stay on campus until 11 p.m. and have to brave the commute back home? Be intentional about your limitations or hesitations, and try to plan a course schedule that addresses them in a productive way.

Find an accountability partner. Having someone to keep you in line is so crucial in college, where it can be easy to be overwhelmed by a plethora of assignments and other obligations. Whether it’s studying in groups or checking in with a mentor that you look up to, accountability can be incredibly helpful to keep each other rooted in your mutual goals and aspirations.

However, accountability is a joint venture. It’s not just about someone checking in with you and seeing if you’re on track, it’s about being intentional to ensure your partner is also doing okay. Nobody likes one-sided relationships where they are expected to pour out their emotional or physical labor with no compensation or reciprocation. Make sure you’re aware that you are committing to supporting them as well and cheering them along the way.

Visit your academic advisor. Major requirements change around all the time and you want to make sure you’re still on the right track to graduating on time. Nothing is more heartbreaking than completing the coursework for a major, working hard throughout the year, and finding out that the class did not count toward the completion of your graduation.

Avoid this by checking in with your academic advisor before you register to classes. Come prepared with a list of classes you’re considering taking and a list of questions you have for your advisor, and double-check that your courses meet the requirements toward your degree. Even if it is just to reaffirm information you already know, it’s good to hear it from your advisor, so you can confirm its validity if any circumstances call it into question.

Stay organized. As you take more upper division courses and immerse yourself in more extracurricular and community activities, you’re going to find your schedule filling up quickly. Nothing is more frustrating than realizing you forgot to turn in an assignment on time, have five minutes to run to an on-campus job interview, or forgot the birthday of your sorority sister.

Keep your life simple and don’t sweat the small stuff by keeping up with a calendar and planner that you can easily refer to. Whether it’s using the calendar feature in your phone or keeping a small planner in your purse, it’s helpful to have a visual tool to map out your day, in order to schedule adequate time for you to study, exercise and do everything else that’s important to you, without compromising your academic success.

What are your tips for combating sophomore slump? Let us know in the comments below!

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