St. Olaf Sentiments: Sophomore Slump

Because I’m an intense and obsessive person by nature and because I love to seek advice via reputable sites such as Yahoo!Answersand WikiHow, that’s exactly what I did in the weeks leading up to my return to campus for sophomore year. At 1:07 a.m. sometime in August, amongst the truly fascinating searches of “what is my moon sign” and – after watch- ing an entire season of “Homeland” in two days – “how competitive are CIA internships,” I ended up searching for answers to my most trivial concerns. When I typed “advice for col- lege sophomores,” what I found shocked me.

Apparently there is a common phenomenon called the “sophomore slump,” a tendency for students’ performance to falter during the second year of college. Now, over the sum- mer while I curled up in my bed, staring at my computer and thinking about how I’d rather cut off my own finger than go back to my minimum wage food service job the next morning, I couldn’t imagine anyone in their right mind feeling like they were simply going through the paces during their sophomore year.

Well I am happy to report, dear students, that I have yet to experience any form of a sophomore slump. Shockingly, Yahoo!Answers did not give me an accurate portrayal of what my own sophomore year experience would be. There’s simply too much to enjoy. The best part of returning to campus as a sophomore is already having friends you actually like. It’s much more fun than getting meals with random acquaintances because you’re too uncomfortable to eat alone; meals which are painful in their own right because they mean engaging in boring small talk that you could not care less about if you tried. Now I can just show up for 4:30 p.m. Grandpa Dinners, and I’m guaranteed to have my friends join me. And when Stav Hall leaves something to be desired, I can rest assured knowing at least one person will be willing to split a Domino’s pizza with me after spending a solid 45 minutes compromising on toppings.

Having a roommate you actually know is great too. I don’t know if anything stressed me out more before freshman year than the thought of living with two people whose exis- tence I wasn’t aware of until a month before we met. Would they be disgusting slobs? Would they be decent human beings? Who’s to say? This year, living with one of my best friends has honestly been one of the easiest and most enjoyable parts of the semester.

A lot of people online seem to agree that part of the reason that the sophomore slump exists is that the novelty of college has begun to wear off, and that students have begun to realize that this is their life for the next three years.

But to me, each year has its own novelties, its own quirks, that set it apart. This year I feel like an actual part of this community, that people would be sad if I wasn’t here and that I have a much better grasp of what I’m doing and how to do it.

On my second Friday back on campus, when I had to wake up for an 8:00 a.m. lab (potentially the worst decision of the year) and the sun was rising outside of Thorson Hall, I stood by the window staring out at the bucolic view. I felt as though I was staring out at my English countryside estate, and I felt over-whelmingly content with life here, slump or no.

It might be a little early to claim that I’ve escaped the sophomore slump, but if the year continues in the same way it’s been going, I’m not too worried.