The Sophomore Slump
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and you’ve found the motif of my entire second year of college.
By Mallory Arnold, Ohio University
After my freshmen year of college, I thought I was in the clear.
Dumb mistakes? Ha, I’ve made them. Miss Hot-Shot survived her first year with only a few bruises and a newfound allergy to dining hall foods. But sophomore year was going to be different. Older, wiser—this was gonna be my year to breeze by.
That was my first mistake of sophomore year.
I went into school with the harsh reality that my grades were really hurt by all the tomfoolery of last year. I dragged my GPA around with me, feeling the weight push on my chest and make me think I’d never catch up. I was close to giving up and just gliding through the year with another “just made it by” attitude.
But after getting past my ennui, I quickly resuscitated my grades and my GPA had a heartbeat once more.
I thought sophomore year would be the time I “grew up.” Boy drama was totally over because we were all adults now, right? I’d ended my freshmen year with a bit of an aching heart, so coming back to school with a confident new attitude fooled me into thinking everything was suddenly going to be easy.
Mistake number two.
I forgot about the typical tricks and trades of boys that I’d learned (the hard way) last year. I put myself in bad positions and found myself broken by the end of first semester. In a way, being hurt sophomore year is worse than the first year. At least last year I was naive and unknowing, but “fool me twice shame on me” hurts a lot more when you know it’s true.
Speaking of ignorance, I also found myself missing the whole “dining hall experience” and begged a younger friend to bring me with her a few times.
And every single time I regretted it. It’s not worth missing.
Mistake number three: dining hall food will never be good.
My second year of college was ten times busier than the first, so I got much less sleep. A lot of sophomores use their year to jump back into grades after screwing up their freshmen year, so like me, they turn into bedraggled students with sleep apnea and coffee addictions.
In the process, I forgot to take care of myself. Mistake number four was the fact that I turned into a gremlin during finals week, and always felt sick.
I was at the library staring at my laptop screen so much that my vision became blurry. No, really. My right eye completely fuzzed up for about two weeks.
When the campus doctor suggested a temporary monocle, I knew I had to start taking it easy.
I’m gonna go ahead and say it, I suck at drinking. Going out sophomore year means that your tolerance is basically a rock, and vodka doesn’t even give you a shiver anymore. So you think you’re basically king of the world and all the wine that rushes through your campus.
I was struggling so hard to just have a damn good time that sometimes I pushed myself a little too far.
“Don’t worry guys, I’m a heavy-weight,” became “I think I’m gonna puke on this nice couch.”
Chances are, I was in by 11:30 because I just wanted to be in my own bed.
I made mistake number—ok no more numbering them, it’s just embarrassing how many there are. I thought about money far too much. I became panicked that I was going to graduate and live in a brown cardboard box, so I decided I needed to work 24/7 to buy some nice wallpaper for it.
The job was crappy and I worked too much. I was exhausted, pushed too many hours down my throat while trying to study my ass off at the same time. Did I have time for friends? No. Did I have time to have stressful crying sessions? Yes. If I could go back, I would take a job that let me have lenient hours and not focus so much on materialistic things.
I didn’t read the syllabus. Don’t even ask. Just—read the damn syllabus.
Another “oops” life choice I made was jumping the gun on internships. I freaked out my second week of school and decided I really needed to apply to a hundred internships. Like, now. This was a little stupid, as most everyone emailed me back politely saying they didn’t accept interns until way later.
Getting a head start is always smart. But there’s a difference between jumping the gun and jumping up to steal the gun before it even goes off.
The worst mistake I made my sophomore year was making the same mistakes over and over again from last year.
I backtracked and did things that I thought I’d learned from before. It’s one of the most gut-crushing feelings sitting in the same exact pit you’ve been in before, looking around and finding the familiar marks you’ve made on the walls.
I thought a new year meant a free-of-mistakes-year. I thought it meant was older and wiser. And in a way, I am. I’ve learned that I’m not going to be perfect. And that’s okay because I think that’s more mature than believing every year is going to be perfect and smooth sailing.
On days where I feel like I’ve let myself down, I just think about all the wise people out there who still make blunders. You can bet that Morgan Freeman still goofs up every once in a while.
(Sorry, slight obsession with Morgan Freeman).
Yeah, I’ve made mistakes this year, and you can bet that Miss-Hot-Shot will keep making them.