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Skidmore College
Counseling Center

Sophomore Year

Many students return to Skidmore their sophomore year with excitement about a fresh start. The first year of college can be a shock for many students, but the sophomore year seems to be a time for students to reconsider and recommit to their own education and development, and to begin to find their own voice. They do this with a deeper understanding of the demands of college, as well as of their own skills, abilities, interests, and the support systems and study habits that work best for them. While the sophomore year is an energizing time, new challenges arise as well. In fact, during their second year students often find themselves in the "sophomore slump," typically a period of developmental confusion and transition. This sense of fatigue can result from a student's struggle to become a competent college student, gain the autonomy and independence they seek, develop their new identities as adults and college students, all while trying to find their purpose in life.

Sophomores at Skidmore are often trying to balance work, school, and other activities and some can over-commit and become temporarily overwhelmed. Some students might feel as if they cannot succeed in school after having a difficult first year. Relationships that formed during their first year mostly because of convenience and location tend to dissolve, and stronger and deeper ties develop, but this development takes time and energy. Additionally, with new living arrangements and classes, the school may feel unfamiliar again. Students may express dissatisfaction with the college or the community (it's too small, there's not enough to do, Skidmore doesn't offer the major they want, etc.) and may even consider transferring to another college. Some of the common challenges faced during the sophomore year are:

Academic and Career Challenges

  • Pressure to pick a major in the face of parental pressure, doubts about their chosen career, and/or a lack of clear interests
  • Balancing schoolwork and other extracurricular responsibilities
  • Taking upper-level classes with juniors and seniors who may be substantially more academically advanced
  • Difficulty getting motivated or feeling as if their studies have no purpose
  • A rising need for students to take ownership of their education and career path

Relational Concerns

  • Changes in friendships and other relationships—students may question the relationships they have or feel as if they have no friends
  • Desire for intimacy increases—students may question their lack of intimate relationships
  • Friendship ties at home decrease
  • May be questioning relationships with parents and may not desire to go home on breaks

Personal and Other Concerns

  • Students may be questioning their identity, sexual orientation and values, and may have uncertainty about the direction of their life (i.e. they don't know who they are or what they want to be).
  • Guilt about the time and money gone into college when they are uncertain about the direction of their life.