Written by Abi Humber Tuesday, 26 October 2010 16:37
Expectations can be tricky things. Sometimes we set them impossibly high so we push ourselves to our limits. Sometimes we lower them to protect our spirits from shattering disappointment. Sometimes our expectations are exceeded, and we are overcome with happiness.
Sometimes, though, our expectations aren’t met, and we can begin to feel a sense of complacency and hopelessness wash over us.
Ever heard of Sophomore Slump? In general, the term is used to describe a second attempt at something that fails to measure up to the expectations set by the first. It is most often used when talking about a band’s second album release, but for the purpose of this column, it refers to my second year of college.
I’m not sure what sort of ideas pop into your mind when you picture me in a “slump,” but I don’t necessarily feel depressed, restless or apathetic, as you might imagine. Mostly, I feel disappointed by what this year has been like so far. I’ve lost energy and motivation because things aren’t how I set them up in my mind to be.
My freshman year was full of opportunity and excitement—tons of new people, a new place, new freedom and new knowledge. It was all fresh and stimulating. Every outing was legendary, everything was photo-op-worthy, and everyone was potentially my new best friend.
Those feelings have since worn off, leaving me with a feeling of…boredom? I’m not even sure what I’d call the feeling. I’m still trying to figure it all out.
As I observe the doe-eyed baby freshmen frolicking around campus like puppies in a field of flowers, I also notice the upperclassmen. They seem so confident and secure. Many of them are well into their studies for their majors, participating in internships, and plugged into various groups or clubs that seem to line up directly with the things they are interested in. They don’t seem to be wasting their time, they don’t seem bored, and they don’t seem to feel like they’re stuck.
I feel stuck. I’m in-between. I’m no longer a frenzied newbie. I know how things at North Park work—my schedule is fairly straightforward, I know who I want to hang out with, and I know what to eat in the cafeteria. However, I don’t feel as solidified as the juniors and seniors, and this has left me feeling a bit “slumpy.”
I think a main source of my disillusionment comes from school itself. Sophomore year is a lot more intense than freshman year. I actually have to do all the reading, I have to come to class fully prepared, and studying dominates a majority of my time, which I’d rather spend socializing.
I understand that I’m at school to do the whole “school thing,” but all work and no play makes for a grumpy Abi. I just want to pretend that school doesn’t exist and gallivant around downtown Chicago for about a week…but maybe I shouldn’t.
As you might imagine, between my feelings of disappointment and stuck-ness, there is a lot of room for mood swings—which I’m sort of already infamous for.
Luckily (if you see it that way), my roommate Kellie is somewhat prone to significant mood swings herself. In an attempt to prevent our dorm room (which, sadly, doesn’t have a name yet) from being a sad and stressed place, we’ve come up with a handful of activities we immediately engage in when we feel too overwhelmed or “slumpy.”
The most frequent of these strategies includes brief, intermittent dance sessions to the musical stylings of Nicki Minaj, Destiny’s Child or Beyonce. Yea, girl power.
Occasionally, we interpretive dance to songs by Enya. We pretend to be little hippie earth children and pass a “ball of energy” back and forth as we roll crazily on the ground or try to gracefully prance around our tiny little room. It’s ridiculous, but good for a laugh.
To add to the hilarity, my little auxiliary computer speakers are pretty pathetic, so crackling and distorted bass beats can be heard all the way down the hall.
Kellie and I are also frequent visitors to various baby-animal Web sites, including “cutethingsfallingasleep.org,” “cuteoverload.com,” “icanhascheezburger.com,” and “dailypuppy.com.”
To switch it up, we sometimes simply search “cute baby animals” on Google. Kel even has a folder of pictures on her computer labeled “puppies,” which she looks at when she feels sad.
These things might seem silly or dumb, and maybe they are a little juvenile. I know this slump won’t last forever, but until I figure out how to get a hang of my expectations, this will have to do. Puppies and Beyonce better pull through for a happiness-booster.
Or maybe you should send me fruit snacks in the mail!