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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Sophomore Slump

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Starting College?

Research suggests that during the sophomore year, students may experience a
period of confusion and uncertainty (Furr & Gannaway, 1982). There are
many new challenges sophomores experience when they return to college.
Unlike freshmen, sophomores receive less attention about the expectations
of college life. Combined with the push to declare a major, find an internship,
and decide whether or not to study abroad leads sophomores to fall
into the "sophomore slump."

There are three general areas that cause sophomores the most stress:

1. Academics

  • Pressure to choose a major
  • Taking upper-level classes with juniors and seniors who may have formed closer
    relationships with professors

2. Personal

  • Uncertainty about the direction of their life
  • Feelings of guilt about the time and money gone into college when
    they are uncertain about the direction of their life.
  • Changing and challenging of previously held family values

3. Relationships

  • Desire for intimacy increases
  • Friendship ties at home decrease
  • Desire to not go home on breaks

Do you want to know if you are experiencing the “Sophomore Slump”?

Do you find yourself wondering any of the following:

  1. What am I doing here at MSU?
  2. Why do I have more questions now than when I first got here?
  3. Who are these people I hang around with that I thought were my friends?
  4. Why am I majoring in this, even if I don’t like it?
  5. Why am I constantly overwhelmed?
  6. Why do I see only negatives in my life?
  7. Why can’t I find time to relax?
  8. Why am I so uncertain about my future?
  9. Why am I not having as much fun as last year?

Why am I ready to cry if the smallest thing goes wrong?

  1. Why do I feel like my parents are constantly pressuring me to know what I want to do with my life?
  2. Does everyone have this all figured out but me?
  3. Why am I so unmotivated and/or anxious?

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you could be suffering from the “sophomore slump”

Now what? Read the “Sophomore Jump” section for ideas