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Parents & Family

Staying Motivated

Spring semester of the second-year can be a time of academic, personal and social challenge. Feelings of monotony, lack of academic and/or career direction, as well as increased pressure to excel can be overwhelming.

In addition, some second-year students may feel they have a nondescript role on campus - no longer having the novelty of being a first-year but not yet having attained the status of being juniors or seniors.

Sometimes referred to as "sophomore slump," this period can be challenging. Students may be striving to achieve competence, develop autonomy, establish their identity and define their purpose in life. They may view the excitement of the first year as being over and the pressure of an ever-increasing workload looming ahead. When combined with other life stresses, it can feel overwhelming at times.

Signs Your Student Might Be in a Slump or Headed for One

  • Feeling anxious, depressed, burned out or overwhelmed all or most of the time

  • Being socially alienated or experiencing feelings as such

  • Suffering from feelings of disappointment, anger and apathy that are sustained or increasing

  • Feeling bored or restless with college or life

  • Experiencing difficulty with studies and other commitments in terms of being unmotivated, unfocused or overwhelmed

Ways to Support Your Student

While your student may be hesitant to ask for assistance, second-year students can benefit from guidance. It is important your student:

  • Realizes that feeling this way can be common among students. Many second-year students can experience a mid-year slump

  • Takes time to consider what factor(s) may be associated with anxiety, depression, feeling burned out or overwhelmed

  • Seeks assistance from BW resource people in areas such as Counseling Services, Academic Advising, Center for Academic Success and Achievement (CASA), Residence Life, the Career Center and Health Services in order to address concerns regarding academics, career direction, roommate, time management, and physical, mental and emotional wellness

  • Vents frustrations, disappointments and worries rather than allows them to fester within and cause misplaced anger, anxiety, depression and other ailments of a mental, physical or emotional nature

  • Talks with family members, friends, resident hall assistants and other support individuals who can listen and offer input

  • Balances coursework expectations with the need to unwind through activities that are personally and socially enjoyable

  • Reduces stress through exercising, eating nutritiously and getting adequate sleep while avoiding alcohol/drug, social and other behaviors that can lead to negative consequences

  • Considers personal commitments, so there is a balance between gaining personal, social, financial and academic benefits without feeling overwhelmed due to an overly demanding employment, co-curricular and academic schedule

Addressing a Prolonged Slump

Depression, stress and anxiety are common among college students. BW Counseling Services offers screenings, individual/group therapy and more.