Sophomore Slump

by Margie DeWard | 11/24/97 6:00am

Okay, all you 2000s, is this term killer, or is just me? Originally, I thought I was one of few who thought this term was not the greatest, but I have since revised my opinion. Lately, when I see people and ask "How are you?" the most common responses are "I'm hanging in there" and "I am surviving -- barely." Most people go on to say that all their friends feel the same way. Others say, "I'm fine," but I can tell by the clenched teeth and the dark circles under their eyes that they haven't slept a whole lot lately. I myself haven't been leading the most stress-free existence this term, and I am still trying to figure out why.

Last year, my UGA used to tool away on a lot of Saturday nights. I couldn't understand why. Now, I am the same way. My 'shmen watch movies and have fun, and I read in my room or even... go to Baker!!! Last year, I would never have considered going to Baker on a Saturday night. I have been there two Saturday nights this year, and I stopped counting the Fridays a long time ago. I don't know what disturbs me more: the fact that I go, or the fact that I see so many 2000s I know. What is wrong with us? For example, it is Saturday night right now. Am I at the Live concert? No, I am in the Rahr Lab drinking mountain dew and eating leftover Lui Lui's pizza and trying to write the same paper that I have been working on for over a week. And I am not the only one here at this late hour.

So, I will offer a few possible explanations for what I call "sophomore slump."

1. Classes are really harder this year.

This may be true for some of us, but it just doesn't work for me. I am taking two intro classes and one upper level geography class. What did I take in the spring? Two intro classes and one upper level geo class. Hmmm, what is wrong with this picture? Last spring I was doing the same activities than I am now, but I also went to every movie at the Hop, tutored at prison, worked 10 hours a week, and went to the jewelry shop two afternoons a week. Not to mention procrastinated a great deal and spent quite a lot of time aimlessly wandering on the Green. So, this term should in fact be easier. But I would hardly classify it as such!

Maybe we are all stressed because we realize that we need these things called majors and might need to acquire some idea of what we want to do with the rest of our lives. But I already have a major that I love -- geography -- and as for the rest of my life, I figure I'll just go to grad school and sort out the details later.

3. Our brains turned to mush.

Maybe, after three terms of working harder than they had ever worked before, our brains had enough, so they went on major vacation this summer. This kind of makes sense. I certainly didn't do anything remotely intellectual this summer. I tried to read The Old Man and the Sea for fun, but it made my head ache, so I read John Grisham novels instead. Maybe my brain grew to like its laziness so much that it is on strike now and refuses to focus on all the work I have to do. But I know some people who took classes this summer who still have mush for brains, so this doesn't work either.

3. The 'Shmen mentality.

We aren't 'shmen anymore. Was it just me or was it really weird to watch the '01s run around the bonfire? I was watching from a safe distance hoping that no one would get char-broiled and thinking what a dangerous process the whole thing was. Last year I ran around it with reckless abandon (until I got hit in the head, but that is another story).

Maybe there is something about being a 'shmen that gives you lots of energy. Gosh, I remember staying up until 3 a.m. debating the meaning of life with my roommate, then getting up and going to drill, 9, 10, and 11, then somehow functioning for the rest of the day. Now if I get less than eight hours of sleep I need coffee or remain more-than-slightly cranky until I get a nap. Last year I even pulled a double all-nighter. Now, even though it will probably be necessary in the near future, I can't even fathom staying up all night, or even until 4 a.m. for that matter.

4. Dartmouth has problems.

Last year, I loved Dartmouth. I still love it most of the time, but as a 'shmen I was oblivious to the race/gender/class/sexuality issues that are very prevalent on this campus. I have lost the "Dartmouth is a utopia" feeling and am compelled to try to change some of the things that I don't like. I know a lot of people who feel the same way. We generally agree that this questioning is a good thing, even though it makes us think a lot more about stuff we used to take for granted.

So, if you see me around campus, especially on the 7th floor of the stacks where I seem to spend most of my time, say hello. Tell me what you think of my hypotheses. Right now, I must go back to this paper, so I can finish it before I go home for Thanksgiving. Then I can relax, because I only have one research paper to write over the break (yes, I am being facetious).

I just have one more thing to say. Juniors and seniors who are reading this: If you think Dartmouth gets worse after sophomore year, please don't tell me. To the 'shmen: Enjoy this year while it lasts. It will be over much too quickly.