Written by OAPA Peer Advisor, Malaysia McGinnis, Class of ‘19.
The common stereotype of a middle child is exemplified in the sophomore year of college. It is the year where the school, the people, the academic life no longer feel new, but it is not quite old. The classes become a steady slew of assignments, studying, and cramming. This overwhelming feeling often gives rise to the “Sophomore Slump.” During this period, a lack of motivation, boredom, and anxiety about the future (and present) are at their peak.
Socially, the friends you made in the first year of college may no longer be the people you click with, or they are not the people you want to be around.
But recognize that there is nothing wrong with needing a different circle of people to feel right at home. Your group of friends can make or break your college experience, and it is important to keep friends that you feel comfortable and positive with around you.
With so many vibrant organizations on campus, you can try to meet new people, and gain some new experiences to shift your life’s perspective.
Additionally, as there is a general perception that you should make friends and connections to people “higher” than you (in terms of success, social prowess, etc.); it is also beneficial to make friends “across” from you. The lateral relationships you develop in college can result in a stronger mutual uplift.
Academically, you may realize your major is just not what you want, or you simply grow tired of learning the same subject. You may realize that you may not be in the right field, and you want to go through a complete revolution in your academic career.
This is okay. Take time to explore, and utilize any time you have outside of class to gain insight about what you want to do, including meeting with your academic advisor. Even if you are in the right field, maybe the 18 credits you took this fall in the same subject was just too much? UMBC is a liberal arts university, so you can balance out the GEP courses throughout your career to take classes that add a bit of diversity to your course load.
Sometimes it may seem as if everyone around you has it all figured out and are throttling into their success quicker. A word of advice: in college, no one has it 100% figured out. The journey to success and self-assurance is ever changing. So for those who feel late in finding out who they are, sophomore year is a great opportunity for growth.