I’ve struggled with anxiety for my entire life.
I remember being in elementary school, going to the nurse at least once or twice a week with a pounding heart, feeling like I was looking down at myself from the ceiling. As a classic hypochondriac, I of course thought I was dying. But, to my relief, my mom sat me down and told me I was having anxiety attacks. She said anxiety ran in our family, and that I had to learn to live with it. So I did.
I never ended up going to therapy or a counselor. I struggled through the first 10 years of my life, but eventually, I grew out of it. That is, until now.
I’ll be turning 20 this year, as I round the bend on my sophomore year, my anxiety is back in full force. But I’m slowly realizing I’m not alone.
The “Sophomore Slump” is a legitimate problem that compels a lot of students to drop out or take an indefinite break after their second year of college.
The question is, why?
Well, sophomore year is the year after freshman year, so the novelty of college has almost completely worn off. And then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, eventually you’ll start to question your value as a human being and whether or not your major is right for you. And maybe, you’ll watch your successful senior friends struggle to find jobs and plans after graduation, only making you feel like you’re already drowning in a world of student loans and impending homework. If these thoughts have started to overwhelm your brain, it’s likely that the “Sophomore Slump” has already infected your soul. Sorry.
Anxiety or stress can’t necessarily be assigned to a particular year, though. Freshmen and sophomores can be just as anxiety-ridden and stressed as juniors and seniors. However, I’ve noticed that sophomore year in particular can take a toll on the normally held-together student.
Whether you want to admit it or not, college students are under a lot of pressure. For some strange reason, people often make fun of college students today for being too soft or sensitive. But to me, that’s just not the case. Instead, I think people are finally comfortable with being open about their mental health, which is a really great thing in the long run.
My advice to anyone trying to get out of their slump is to stay positive. Don’t doubt yourself because you’ve made it this far. Try to branch out—make new friends, travel abroad, try a new activity or stop eating Beehive alone in your room every day. Once you start finding a new purpose, your life will seem a lot less bleak.
If you or a friend is struggling with severe anxiety, depression or the “Sophomore Slump,” talk to someone. Talk to a university counselor, a friend, a family member or anyone who will openly listen. And if you are ever considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.