In the first year of college, there's so much to learn about, adjust to, and fall in love with. Your campus is brand new; you're learning how to manage your time; you're getting used to college classes; you're meeting new people; and you're living on your own for the first time. But by sophomore year, is there anything new?
It's not uncommon for college sophomores to experience something called the Sophomore Slump: feelings of boredom and apathy because the newness of college has worn off. You might find yourself enjoying college less than your first year and your grades might even drop a bit. There just doesn't seem to be as much to be excited about as there was when you first arrived. Here are some ways to ensure the Sophomore Slump doesn't ruin all you worked for during your first year:
1. Join a new club: Since you've already been at your school for one year, you undoubtedly know how active clubs are on campus. Find one that you weren't a part of last year so that you'll get re-energized and involved in a new part of your campus scene. And, of course, if you have an interest but there's no club on campus for it, you can always start your own.
2. Join a new academic club: Your first year, you likely were so busy orienting yourself that you didn't have the time to really narrow your academic interests. Consider joining a club that caters to your major or your career plans. Check out a creative writing club where you can share your poetry or short stories with other creative students. Drop into a pre-med club meeting if you're considering going to medical school. Lots of academic clubs are a healthy combination between intellectual and social.
3. Take a class just for fun: While you may need to decide your major soon, see if you can slip in a course on something you're interested in, well, just because it's interesting. Why not get credit for something that also helps you get re-excited about how fun classes can be? If you're worried about having too many credits or too big of a workload, you can also consider auditing a class that seems particularly appealing.
[Learn more about when to choose a major.]
4. Take up an instrument: College can be a great place to learn how to play a new instrument. You can sign up for Introduction to Piano, Introduction to Guitar, or any other class that allows you to explore an instrument you've always been curious about but too shy to explore before.
5. Plan to study abroad: Most college students study abroad their junior or senior year—meaning you have to prepare and apply the year before. Stop by the Study Abroad Office for some information on where to go and what you'll need to do to make it happen. After all, what better way to motive yourself than to dream about how, next year at this time, you just might be strolling the streets of Paris or Tokyo? (Added benefit: many study abroad programs require a certain GPA, which can be good motivation to keep your grades up, too.)
[Get more advice on studying abroad.]
6. Volunteer: One of the best ways to keep your focus and perspective in college is to remind yourself how fortunate you are to be getting a college education in the first place. Consider volunteer at a local shelter, religious organization, political group, or any other institution that works for a cause you care about. You can give back to your community while also getting recharged and feeling rewarded.
7. Join an intramural sports team: Besides the exercise, camaraderie, and new friends, you just might find something that makes your weekends and evenings much more fun. The nice thing about college intramurals, too, is that you often don't need any experience to join. Ultimate Frisbee, anyone?
Did you make it through the Sophomore Slump? Are you in it right now and needing some motivation? Connect with others in similar situations by contributing to the comments.