3 Strategies to Bounce Back from a Sophomore Slump

At this time in the semester, it can be easy to fall into a slump—particularly if you’re a high school sophomore. Freshman year is full of excitement. During sophomore year, however, you begin to get questions about your future you may not be ready to answer, or to have classes you may not feel fully prepared for.

Don’t panic. There are steps you can take to overcome a sophomore slump, such as identifying what the root cause is or being honest with your teachers and parents. If the spring semester of your sophomore year of high school feels endless, utilize these strategies to bounce back from a sophomore slump:

Sophomore slump strategy #1: Identify the cause

If you’re stuck in a sophomore slump, take a moment to honestly check in with yourself about why you’re in this situation. Perhaps you’re uncertain about concepts you’re learning in class, and this is placing excess stress on you. Perhaps you need to establish better time management strategies or cut back on extracurriculars. Discover what is driving your sophomore slump, and develop ways to overcome it.

When creating a slump-busting game plan, it’s important to ask yourself what learning style you prefer. For example, are you an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner? Identifying your style (or styles) can help you understand how you work best and can guide you to make smarter and more efficient choices in your work habits.

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Sophomore slump strategy #2: Speak with your parents and teachers

Once you’ve established potential causes of your sophomore slump, be honest with your parents and teachers. Sit down with your parents and explain the situation. Offer them your assessment of the situation, and ask for their advice. Be open and receptive, as being defensive won’t help you get back on track. Acknowledge where things might have gone wrong, and ask them for what you need—maybe this is private tutoring or a new carpool that will let you stay longer at school to speak with your teachers. Or perhaps it’s discussing rearranging the family schedule to allow for more homework time, or asking your parents to hold you accountable more often.

Also find time to speak with your teachers. Be sure to bring your personal learning habits into the conversation. If you know you’re more of an auditory learner, ask for permission to record class lectures. If you’re more of a visual learner, ask for some extra time in class to copy down notes that might get sped through. Go into the conversation with the knowledge that your teachers want you to do your best. Ask them for their opinion on how you can improve. Perhaps they’ve noticed that you always make the same mistakes or that you consistently don’t turn your assignments in on time. Sometimes, that clarity is all you need to get back on track. 

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Sophomore slump strategy #3: Communicate with your classmates

You and your classmates are in this together. They can be your best allies through the difficult times of high school. If you know some of your friends are doing well in a class, ask them what their tactics are. Maybe they understand a particular teacher’s teaching style, and this helps them on tests. Perhaps they’re utilizing your teacher’s after-school help as a strategy for success. Ask for their input and if they’re open to having joint study sessions.

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