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Holly McCamant: The dreaded sophomore slump

I was a freshman at the time when I first heard about the sophomore slump. At that time, I had enough time to be reading the book that had that term, and was easily dealing with three 10th grade classes. So I at the point in time, I really wasn’t too worried.

I figured that having the sophomore slump meant getting sick of schoolwork, because you have two and a half years of high school left. I was partially right. I don’t know if the term sophomore slump was created for high school or college, but what I do know is that it sure applies to the wonderful second year of high school.

Freshman year is a time for being fearless. You’re officially a high schooler, and the schoolwork isn’t too bad, even if you’re taking advanced classes. At this point you haven’t had any setbacks or had two bad sports seasons in a row. Sure, it’s a little harder than eighth grade, but it’s not too bad.

Sophomore year, on the other hand, is a little different. Most sophomores have a job or jobs at this age, and many of us (myself not included) are able to drive without a parent. This puts a lot more responsibility on us, along with the classes that are more challenging and the increased intensity of any activities we are in. 

This challenge causes many things to happen. The first and probably main thing is getting our perception twisted of what is an acceptable time to go to bed. Freshman year, I thought that 10:30 was a really late time to go to bed. Sophomore year it’s early. Saying “tired” when someone asks how I’m doing happens about half of the time.  We tend to get envious of each other when one of us actually gets sleep. Going to bed at 10:15 seems like a distant luxury.

The second thing that happens partially of a result of the decreased sleep is being stressed. I am always getting worried about the amount of work I have to do and the time I have to do it. Many people get burned out because they don’t have any way to release stress. I work out seven days a week and I don’t know where I’d be without it. The only time I can fall asleep when I don’t get exercise is when I’m sick.

Overall, sophomores tend to be the most wound up people. It’s tough, because we’re not newbies, but we haven’t adjusted yet. The sophomore slump sets in, and we wonder if the next two and a half years are really worth it.

The best ways to combat the sophomore slump are to focus on the good things. One of the things that keeps me going is the track season coming in two months. We need to remember that in the end our good grades will pay off and that someday we can go to college.

The other main way to combat the sophomore slump is called time management. It is a skill that you learn from having a 9 to 5 job on Saturday, a run, a ski, a huge debate to prepare for, other homework, and an article to write all in one weekend.

One thing that you can do before your sophomore year is choose your priorities. The little extracurriculars can really add up, so choose yours wisely. Some of my classmates have so many things going on I don’t know how they do it. If your sport is important to you, focus all your energy in on that and your mountain of homework. Don’t waste it on something that doesn’t really matter to you.

Sophomore year isn’t the easiest, but we can make it. We just have to not let the slump get us down.