Let me preface by saying: Sophomore year kind of sucks.

OK, rewind. My foundation year of college was one of the best years of my life. Being a few hours away from home in a small school, I felt more independent than ever. I had responsibilities, was making new friends, and was able to start growing into the kind of person I wanted to be. At last I was no longer trapped between the worlds of childhood and maturity. I was moving forward. Things were stressful, but the kind of stress that felt good. To be honest, everything felt good in a way. I felt like I was finally beginning to own myself.

The second semester of sophomore year was when this feeling wore away. I felt trapped again, but this time with my responsibilities. I had no desire to go back to my childhood – I am still beyond fine with letting those years go – but moving forward was getting increasingly difficult. Between switching majors, managing six classes, balancing relationships, finding housing, working part time (and not making enough money), my normal anxiety, and trying to not destroy my body with unhealthy food and messed up sleeping schedules, my daily thoughts generally boiled down to, “Why can’t things just work out for once?”

The frustrations I had with some aspects of my life seeped into all aspects of my life, and so I spent a lot of time alone. I wish I could say I used this solitude for some self-reflection, but actually for a lot of it I was just really bitter. Like I said, I never had any longing to wish things back to the way they were before, so I was just stuck feeling mad about things I didn’t have total control over. I also cried a lot, but that’s not really saying much because a few days ago I watched a video about fishing and almost cried when the fish was caught (I thought they were going to kill it and I got really sensitive about it, but they let it go, so it’s fine).

Anyway, mentally, I was in a really bad place. Suffice it to say that I spent a lot of time sitting alone with my thoughts.

When I did get out and talk to people, I found that most of them weren’t exactly having the times of their lives, either. I consulted my older friends about this phenomenon.

“Oh, yeah,” they said. “That’s just the Sophomore Slump.”

“What?” I would reply.

“I went through that too. Sophomore year is just kind of awful.”

Thankful that I wasn’t alone, I would tell them, “Well, you couldn’t have warned me about this or anything?”

Why is the Sophomore Slump a thing? I honestly don’t know. For me, personally, a lot of it was due to a gradual compilation of events that eventually led me to my tipping point. That said, it’s not as if sophomore year is an absolute hell. I still had fun and learned a lot, and as to my earlier question of “Why can’t things just work out for once?” – well, they usually did, it just took a little more work and some luck. (And emails, so many emails! I swear to God, I was sending 50 emails a week.)

Of course, with finals over in a week, it’s really easy to look back and say “that wasn’t so bad”. The fact is that while I was living through it, it was… just awful, just the worst.

So how do you deal with it? Again, my answer is: ???

For a few months, I haven’t been happy, and to be honest, I’m still not back in the place I was before. I don’t think there is a solution. But then, should there be? Is it really necessary to be happy all the time? For me, what kept me from going completely over the edge wasn’t trying to be happier than I was, but rather learning how to not be absolutely negative – you know, being able to chill out, take care of yourself, and trudge through.