Ways to Get Out of the “Sophomore Slump”

Photo by Maria Crisafulli

Sophomore anything seems to always get a bad rep.

The sequel movie isn’t as good the original, a singer’s second album is not as soulful as the prior, and sophomore year of college is simply just different than the first. By now you probably have a solid group of friends that you enjoy spending time with, and maybe you finally know what your interests are so your major choice is pretty much made. Overall, things seem to be going well—but for some reason, you still feel a little lost. This feeling is totally normal, and totally preventable.

In order to get more advice on combating the slump, Valley spoke with sophomore student-athlete, ROTC member, and super involved Criminology major, Scout Dakota Cheeks, about ways to time manage and hopefully pull yourself out of the sophomore (or junior, senior) slump!

Unclutter your space!

First things first, clean your room! And no, your mom didn’t email Valley and tell us to write that, it’s just good advice. Organizing and cleaning your living space honestly has the power to completely change your mood.

“When I’m disorganized I feel very scatter brained and overwhelmed. Cleaning helps me have composure,” says Cheeks.

Psychologists have done research on this, and the results show that a little bit of tidying here and there can have positive affects on your mood and outlook on life in general. It can also help with schoolwork, too! Cheeks says she likes to “go through the beginning of each week and map out assignments, quizzes and other things to avoid being stressed out during the week.” This keeps her on top of her academics as well as her extracurriculars.

Work those legs!

Going for a quick run a couple of times a week has the power to increase your endorphin levels. As Elle Woods once said, “Endorphins make you happy!” But seriously—the American Psychological Association calls this the “exercise effect,” because it reaps so many positive rewards. Cheeks, who is a member of the women’s Varsity Rugby team, is a huge advocate of the many pluses to physical activity.

“Sports get my body moving so I don’t feel restless (and) the ROTC helps to give me the discipline that I need which helps in every other aspect of my life,” she says. With the power to recharge and elevate overall mood, Cheeks says there’s nothing like “the feeling of accomplishment after a hard workout!”

Don’t be afraid to “Netflix and chill” with yourself!

It’s easy to underestimate the power of alone time. Being by yourself in your room seems to get a bad rep when you’re a freshman who is supposed to be getting involved and make friends, but by the time sophomore year comes around, that quality time alone is precious.

Cheeks, who is a huge advocate of Netflix and chill (with food) says hanging out by herself is so important.

“I just need that time to recharge from social activity. It helps to balance me out. Having time to think and reflect puts me at ease,” says Cheeks.

Time alone is sometimes rare in college, so it’s always appreciated when it happens. Binge-watching Scandal isn’t the only way Cheeks unwinds from the busy life Penn State brings. She also knows that it is important to stay informed on what is going on outside of the State College bubble. Reading the news helps keep her knowledgeable to the rest of the world.

“It’s just a matter of staying informed instead of being secluded while at college,” Cheeks says.

Getting into a groove for the second year isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely achievable. Knowing yourself and managing your time will undoubtedly help get you out of your slump and ready to conquer round two in Happy Valley.