Spring is rampant in the air. Also, our new year of university is rampant. Do you worry about your major is not your taste? Or are you so tired that you just want to rest because of your busy life? Maybe, you are experiencing what’s called the sophomore slump! Are you not sure what it is? That’s okay. All you need to do is just read through this page, read the article and find out about a common condition among your fellow classmen, which you might have. Let’s get started!
I’m Not in a Sophomore Slump! I Don’t Know What It Is!
Are you sure that your life is going the way you want it to? Or do you still have the passion that you had when you first started? If not, you might have caught the infamous ‘sophomore slump’. The Sophomore slump is the feeling of confusion that you get when you are not sure if your current major is right for you, or whether your current lifestyle is right. In general, the second grade in your university career is the year in which you learn more about your major, you might notice a difference between your fantasy about your major and the major itself. This difference might be so big that some students change their major or take a year off from school. However, do not worry about this slump! Sports stars and singers have these kinds of slumps, too. For example, many one-hit wonders experienced a sophomore slump. Just as Toni Basil who is also called Mickey is one of the famous one-hit wonders who have experienced a sophomore slump. So, do not worry about your slump, everyone experiences it.
Freshman in the Division of Computer Science and Engineering
As a freshman, are you satisfied with your major?
Yes, I accomplished my dream! All my life I have been willing to learn about computers and I do it in my lectures now. It makes me really satisfied.
What is the reason that you chose your major? Are you confident that you will keep your major?
When I was young, I already had a strong interest in computers. Even in high school, I could disassemble and reassemble one. So, I have confidence that I will keep this major. Even if I catch the sophomore slump, I will continue studying computers.
What do you know about the sophomore slump? Also, what is the difference between ‘MIDSSY’ and a sophomore slump?
You may recall going through some challenges during your middle school years, the time when your body was changing. For the sake of this article, let’s call this MIDSSY syndrome, or Middle School Second Year syndrome. This is the time when you felt like you were the center of the world and only time could solve the “slump” you felt in your life. You may have felt confusion about what was real and what was fantasy. In contrast the sophomore slump might be similar. However, I don’t believe this to be so serious.
Differences between MIDSSY Syndrome and Sophomore Slump
Have you heard about MIDSSY syndrome? Compared to the sophomore slump, maybe more people have heard about this one. Many of us think this sophomore slump might come from their young minds, but it’s not. There are some differences of middlease and sophomore slump. Let’s look into the differences that they have.
First, MIDSSY syndrome came out of Japanese subculture about 10 years ago. However, the sophomore slump is still older than that and has more extensive meanings in various themes, like in sports, economics, education, etc. Second, MIDSSY is just one stage of growth. Some teenagers go through puberty during these years. Whether that is hard or easy, they have to go through it, a time when their individual characteristics are formed.
The Sophomore Slump is a little bit different. Most sophomores are in their early 20’s, they’ve already developed their own personality. However, they are confused between reality and fantasy in their lives, especially when it comes to their majors and social life at university. This confusion develops into a slump they experience as sophomore students. This is how we get the term Sophomore Slump.
Sophomore Slump in Media
The sophomore slump might be unknown to many students even if they have already caught this slump. So, where can we find this sophomore slump? There are two forms of media we can find on the internet that explain this sophomore slump.
The Facebook page “Nanhee’s College Life” uploaded a detailed webtoon about the sophomore slump. It is a little bit funny, but it also has a cynical view about the society that we live in. By looking at the illustrations and precise explanations, everyone can better understand what the sophomore slump is all about.
In the 466th episode of the “SBS Special” program, we get a first-hand look at the sophomore slump among students at Korean universities. At first, they explain to us what sophomore slump is. Also, they show us how to take a rest from the sophomore slump and examples from foreign countries. Finally, they show some high school students who were in a serious slump but with their own time, they could win that slump.
These are really small examples, but they are shown fruitfully, so we can find a way to overcome the slump.
Am I in a Sophomore Slump?
Any treatment starts with a diagnosis. Here is a quick test, which will help you find out if you have got the sophomore syndrome or not. Take a deep breath, be as honest with yourself as you can, and answer the following questions with yes or no.
1. Do you compare your qualifications with others and humble yourself?
2. Have you recently become more depressed than usual?
3. Do you have many worries about your future?
4. Do you consider changing your major or applying for a leave of absence?
5. Do you endlessly worry about your career, but cannot decide what you want to do?
6. Do you seem to be nothing in the world?
7. Do you upload your status on the SNS from time to time, open a discussion and make arguments?
8. When you see middle and high school students, do you often think or say: "Those were good times."?
9. Do you check your schedule again and again?
10. Do you feel you want to give up because you cannot afford the pressure of employment?
If you marked ‘yes’ for less than five questions, you can be proud of your confidence. If five or more of these statements are ‘yes’ for you, you are likely to have sophomore syndrome.
Student #1: College of Social Science major
Test result: 6 of 10
- How did you choose your faculty?
I wanted to work in this field, so I chose it. But to tell you the truth, my major does not please family. They let me go to the faculty I want to. But now analyzing my decision again I can say I followed a misty sort of dream. Now I think it will be difficult for me to accomplish.
- Can you describe your condition now? (feelings or thoughts)
Mostly I keep comparing myself with other students. Everyone is obviously better qualified than me I am for employment. Constant comparison makes me feel sad and more and more depressed. While studying major subjects, if I got stuck with something difficult, I started dwelling on the thought: “Was I right to choose this subject as my major?” I bet for sure I’ve got the sophomore syndrome?
- What do you think of your future now?
It does not seem bright. It is all about worrying. I would not say I have no thought about my future. I think a lot but there is still no decision.
- Have you thought of taking a leave of absence or changing your major?
Yes, I am considering of taking a leave of absence to spend time doing some volunteer work or trying an Off-campus program, for example.
-Do you see people around you feel the same way?
Yeah, they do not talk about it, but they are depressed too. They must also be going through the sophomore syndrome.
Student #2: Senior student in the Division of Business Administration
Test result: 0 of 10
- What do you remember of your second year at school?
I experienced a lot of things. After finishing my freshman year, I took a semester off, went to Seoul, tried various things like making music, doing some advertisement projects. I also organized a start-up with three other friends. So my second grade was really important in changing my life. Just a year earlier I thought about my future has the only way to go. After that I realized that I have plenty of opportunities.
- Was it an easy decision to take a leave of absence?
I had a certain reason for taking it - participating in a great program for students. There were a lot of mentors, who held a wide range of experiences. Every mentor said that any experience is valuable no matter if it were a failure or success. I followed that advice, tried to gain a lot of experience. This year I participated in the program as a mentor. I also had a chance to go to America in an overseas program from CBNU. I had a culture shock because of the American way of thinking. That moment I started to think about my future more widely. I would say it was also my turning point.
- What do you think about your future?
For now, I can say I have chosen my field. I keep on studying in it, though there are a lot of things I want to do in addition. We cannot be sure of our future, but we can help ourselves. There are a lot of directions in our life to choose. It would be wrong to choose only one. But taking one as the main focus and not giving up on others is possible.
It Is OK, It Is Not the End
Sophomore syndrome is treatable without surgery. There are also cases when students go through it without even noticing. However, if you are suffering, there are ways to overcome it without much loss.
Most students seriously get into major subjects during the 2nd grade of university. This means 2nd grade is the real start. Psychologists say it is normal to feel nervous when you start something significant in your life. The important part of it is realizing what you are doing and what you are doing it for.
For most students, time is the best medicine. You should continue to study, keeping the path chosen and doing your best. Investigation of the major and implementation of your personality into the major will take time. As time goes by, your subjectivity and thoughts become clearer. And as a result, you do not need to find a solution anymore. The problem is solved on its own.
For the rest of the students, there are some facts to realize. First, it is normal to be insecure in yourself and your future because no one in the whole world can be absolutely sure in tomorrow. Second, it is okay to compare yourself with others, but humbling yourself will help nothing because everyone has their own pace, advantages and luck. Third, you still have time to develop yourself, starting now. Try to compare yourself to you-in-the-future, so you will see objectively what you need more to pay attention to. For a small number of students, a leave of absence might be the solution. It is also an option at any time, but why give up right before the battle?
“Every generation has its enemies”, and benefits as well. Many of us experienced similar problems in middle school and are now going through sophomore syndrome. At this time, we are forewarned, so we are prepared. Sophomore syndrome is just a regular problem. Every student can handle it. Let’s get through it in the best manner!
You Da-yeon & Yan Natalya, Reporters