I believe that I have complained about this in a previous post, but sorting out a summer that promises to be fun, beneficial, educational, and possibly even lucrative (but let’s be real, probably not) is extremely difficult. As the month of February draws to a close, and all of those March 1st deadlines are right around the corner, I realize that I have dedicated an absurd amount of time and mental energy towards summer internships and job applications. A few weeks ago, I was being interviewed for one of these summer gigs when I was jokingly asked if I had “the sophomore condition” because of everything listed on my resume. I’ve heard many things about sophomore year, and the phrase “sophomore slump” definitely gets thrown around, but I had never heard this time of my life be referred to as a condition! Though it struck me as odd, I filed the thought away and continued on living my Wesleyan life of all-consuming homework, dance, J Street, internship applications, work, yada yada yada.
In many ways, I reject the idea of a sophomore slump because by-and-large I am tremendously happy to be where I am. That being said, sophomore year spurred many changes in how I feel about Wesleyan and other commitments in my life. Basically, this year amped up the intensity level to a profound new level. Without the safety net of a being a first year student and having endless time ahead of me to explore and grow as a student and human, I realized that I had to focus my ambitions a bit more explicitly. Academically, this was manifested by the declaration of a major (Government and Certificates of Middle Eastern Studies and International Relations woohoo!). In my extracurricular life, I was suddenly finding myself in leadership positions that I had not necessarily expected. I have always struggled to self-monitor how many commitments I claim in my life, and have generally worked under the illusion that if 24 hours in a day did not give me enough time, I would simply add a 25th! Fun fact about that method: it doesn’t work. As I felt myself swimming in the newfound intensities of my academic, social, and extracurricular commitments I suddenly feared that I was suffering from a “sophomore slump” because I didn’t feel enthusiastic and peppy 100% of the time. I want to stress that I am extremely passionate about the commitments I have made this year. From tour guiding, to dance, to J Street, I have voluntarily dedicated my time and efforts to hold a meaningful place in each community. However, as midterm exams come out of nowhere, I feel tremendous pressure and a cloud of doubt that I can possibly complete all that needs to be done. It is under this shadow of pressure that I remember the notion of a “sophomore condition.” I am not in a slump, because no matter how worn out or exhausted I may feel in the moment I am confident that I love Wesleyan and all of the projects to which I am committed. However, I am facing a new phase in my life where I must balance certain anxieties of the real world (jobs, internships, THE FUTURE) with passions in the moment at a level of elevated responsibility and leadership. Perhaps I am only speaking for myself when I say that this is a “condition” to which I must adapt.