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The student news site of Robinson High School

Knight Writers

The student news site of Robinson High School

Knight Writers

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How to Avoid Sophomore Slump

Strategies for sophomores to re-discover your interest in school.
IB+Sophomore+Aviva+Probasco+tiredly+lays+down+on+her+desk.
Photo Grace Shafer
IB Sophomore Aviva Probasco tiredly lays down on her desk.

There’s been a recent outcry of being academically strained from Robinson students, but specifically sophomores. I had heard of the idea of “Sophomore Slump” before this year, but just thought of it as a lame excuse for laziness. It wasn’t until now, only about ten weeks into my sophomore year that I truly understand this concept.

Cabrini University states, “Students who lack motivation- and engage in behavior- that interferes with their academic success are stuck in the sophomore slump.”

While this may be true for some, I think the slump is more the apathy we develop towards school after we worked ourselves to death in freshman year. Now, we’re all just drifting corpses, unable to wake up and re-enter the perpetual void of academic validation that we were caught in before. We simply don’t care enough to wake up anymore, which is the problem. I attribute it to the ideology of regression towards the mean. This philosophy means that results that are more extreme in a first measurements, will most likely move closer to the average the second time. This leaves us feeling lost in mediocrity, stuck in the norm.

There are strategies to escape this state. Although they may seem tired or banal, there’s a reason they’ve been practiced time and time again. Here are some methods I’ve used to counteract this phenomenon and resume a healthier academic path.

1) Protect Your Interests

For me, this is the most important practice for keeping a centered and clear mind. Enriching yourself in activties you enjoy makes you be more in-tune with yourself, which creates a more focused enviornment for school performance. Whenever I’ve felt the most unmoored, is when I completely engrossed myself in schoolwork and studying and ignored the things that bring me joy. Simply allowing yourself to watch an hour of your favorite tv show, or listening to music, or reading an extracurricular book brings the mind the clarity required to focus on other things. If we don’t feed into our interests and the things we most care about, we’re left feeling unfullfilled and unready to work.

2) Thrive to Understand Content

By “understanding content” I mean actual comprehenison on what you’re learning in classes. Going in blindly to tests is one of the most terrifying feelings, we’ve all been there, but there are ways to avoid this. If you catch yourself drifting off in class because you simply don’t understand what the teacher’s talking about, ask questions, get engaged. Proper notetaking skills can keep us engaged and provide true understanding. If you start pretending to be interested in what you’re learning, maybe it will actually take effect. If you are experiencing confusion, you have to take action. Try testing your knowledge by asking your teacher for extra problems or attempt questions out of a textbook. Confusion leads to frustration, which leads to disinterest. Your interest is the key to proper learning and understanding of content.

3) Sleep, Sleep, Sleep.

I know you’ve heard this countless times. You’re probably prepared to click off this story, but if you stay, I think you’ll have a better understanding of why sleep is just that vital to academic performance.

“If you haven’t slept, your ability to learn new things could drop by up to 40%”, said Dr. Matthew Walker, a sleep scientist at the University of California, Berkeley in an interview with the News in Health Newsletter, “Lack of sleep affects a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is key for making new memories.”

We’re still children, our minds still have room for sculpting and memory retention. If we aren’t getting the required amount of sleep, sitting through lectures all day isn’t going to do anything for our learning. I know getting caught in the loop of not paying attention to the clock and realizing you have four other things to do at 11 p.m. is difficult to avoid, but you have to find a way. Set aside time for schoolwork, me-time, and preparing for the next day. Having a set schedule may seem stressful, but you could switch around the time segments each day to not feel like you’re hyperfixated on keeping up with times.

Losing interest in school is easy to do, the admirable and challenging thing to do is re-discovering your interest. Hopefully these strategies help you restart your journey to develop a healthier relationship with school and pride in the work you produce.

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About the Contributor
Grace Shafer, Senior Staff Writer
Grace Shafer is a sophomore at Robinson and a senior staff writer for Knight Writers. This is her second year on staff. Along with journalism, Shafer likes to spend her time reading and watching films. Some of her favorite authors at the moment are Joan Didion and Eve Babitz. At the moment, Sse enjoys films such as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", "Night of the Hunter" and "20th century." Her favorite directors currently are Greta Gerwig, Wes Anderson, and David Lynch. Even though Shafer describes herself to be a very high-maintenance person, she wishes to travel and backpack through all of Europe at some point in life because she believes it's a beautiful country and she has always loved it. This year, Shafer is most looking forward to her English class because she gets along with her teacher and they might start a film class and a literary magazine, both being things Shafer enjoys and can't wait to be able to be a part of. "I just love journalism and writing in general," Shafer said. Looking into the future, Shafer's dream job ties almost directly into what she's going to be doing in her English class this year. "My favorite thing ever and what I want to eventually pursue as a career is film," Shafer said. Profile by Heather Parker
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