In the midst of breakups, non-stop drama from everyday life, the dreaded sophomore slump, and the quickly approaching future, it can be super hard to be optimistic. It’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you feel like the walls are closing in – it seems like there’s no way to control and silence negative thoughts coming from almost every single outlet. It may seem like you’re alone and nobody cares, but believe me, someone does.
I never believed in the concept of sophomore slump until I experienced it.
GRE books, online tests, and study tips suddenly filled my desk. Conversations about graduate school and the future only perpetuated the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and fear. After coming to the realization that change is inevitable, and that you can’t control everything, I decided to find myself again.
Finding yourself can’t be defined – it’s different for everyone. There’s a few steps that I took and have been taking to become happy again. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy – and sometimes the bad days win, but, in the end, it is all about discovering who I was meant to be.
R.M. Drake once said, “Sometimes to self-discover, you must self-destruct.” I believe that getting out of a slump requires starting with a blank slate – getting down to the basics.
This step is mostly characterized by crying, angry rants, and lots and lots of ice cream. There is no way I would be able to get to where I am today without all of the support I received from my loving friends.
After you’ve given yourself the time to wallow in sorrow, it’s time to get up and start being a functioning human again. Time to go about your routine and interact with people, although you may still be feeling pain. This is probably the hardest step, but it gets the ball rolling.
The key here is distraction, but also understanding that it’s okay not to be okay. Rather than repressing emotions that didn’t seem desirable, I chose to embrace them, understand that they were present, and eventually I learned to cope with the feelings that came along with them.
Clearly nobody is perfect, but something that a lot of people (myself included) struggle with is owning up to imperfections. This does not imply that every little idiosyncrasy needs to be fixed immediately, but that those that can be controlled should be worked on.
Something that I’ve learned, especially in the past year, is that certain people may bring out sides of you that you weren’t even aware of. If someone brings out qualities that aren’t desirable and don’t show your true colors – cut them out of your life. Nobody needs toxic people that encourage the worst version of yourself.
This step seems pretty simple – do the things you love. But the beauty of attempting to start from a blank slate is that you might find a few new passions. In the midst of confusion and anger that fraction life crises bring, I decided to travel and visit friends. Driving and escaping every day routines gave me a much needed break from reality, but also people that could listen to me without bias.
While finding newfound beauty and reminiscing in old treasures, it’s also important to avoid toxic people, situations, or places. The most prevalent challenge in this step is realizing that not everything is black or white – not everything or everyone is absolutely good or bad. The key to finding yourself and ending the crisis is reevaluating relationships and seeing how the person, place, or situation helps you grow. There are a few reasons to cut people off: (1) people who do not benefit you in any way, (2) people who don’t give you what you need and deserve, and (3) people who don’t want you anymore.
This goes hand in hand with the first step. In order to become a better person and move forward in a life crisis, you have to love yourself and be confident. Learning to be independent is the first step of many to achieving confidence. This also takes a lot of time – for me, this has been a life-long struggle for me personally. Find what makes you get up in the morning and start appreciating the little things.
While I’m still on the journey to truly being happy and getting out of my sophomore slump, I’ve made huge progress. Nobody is saying that this happens instantly, or that you’re supposed to have everything figured out. I’m on the road to happiness, and I couldn’t be more excited for my beautiful future.