The Sophomore Slump

The Sophomore Slump begins early.

The Sophomore Slump begins when you lug up your pile of laundry for the first time in the semester and realise that all the washing machines are full. It is sacrificing your time for an institution only to realise that the institution still puts its good name above everything else. It is wondering why the public thinks that students are sex-crazed; who has time for the D when we’re busy chasing As? It is beginning the academic year uncharacteristically jaded, but still hoping to make full use of the opportunities given to you, after all, you’re not going to throw away your shot.

The Sophomore Slump is realising that the average number of pages for your readings have suddenly gone up, but the number of hours in a day have not. It is realising that your room in Tembusu has taken on a minimalist feel after you grow tired of moving your stuff in and out every semester. It is meeting a whole batch of new fresh people for the first time, and feeling excited to make new friends. It is gradually growing tired with having to be social for long periods at time, man it’s hard to be an introvert. It is cleaning your room while sighing and wishing that it would clean itself.

The Sophomore Slump is moving in your air-cooled portable drawer, only to curse when the power in your wing fails and your ice-cream melts. It is realising that you no longer have many classes in UTown, and you need to take the shuttle bus to the other side. It is realising that more interest groups have sprung up, but there’s no time to catch ‘em all. It is planning which interest groups to slowly ease out of, after you’ve committed to too many of them. It is eating the dining hall food for yet another semester and noting with bemusement why someone would set up an Instagram account for the food when the menu repeats every week.

The Sophomore Slump is playing in the Tembusu House Games for the second time, and wondering why your muscles and bones ache more this year. It is ordering less suppers because of your ever-growing waistline. It is recognising that you start to see the same people in your tutorials (for FASS anyway) and either make friends with them or make a mental note to not waste time listening to them. It is starting to realise that conversations with people are starting to sound oddly familiar every time, after all, everything can be explained by “it’s a social construct”.

The Sophomore Slump is-

The Sophomore Slump is not all doom and gloom.

It’s just the recognition that the ‘honeymoon’ period of university is over. The world was your oyster, before the powers that be forcefully yanked away your pearl. You had dreams of doing big things, before life took you by the shoulders and slapped you around a few times. It can be remedied – the sight of your friends you’ve grown to love, eating your comfort food (Foodclique Ban Mian?), spending time with your significant other, taking some time off just for yourself. And when you take the time to look back, you’ll find that you made some of your most treasured memories over the past year and achieved some pretty cool stuff while doing so.

Most of all, the Sophomore Slump is gazing into an uncertain future, with the realisation that no one’s there to help you anymore because you’re no longer ‘fresh’. But with every slump, a rise must come after, such is the cyclical nature of life. You look at the current freshmen, with their unbridled enthusiasm, and it reminds you of what you used to be. And so, to reference the great F. Scott Fitzgerald, you beat on, boat against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Thumbnail image by Isaac Neo (Model: Brendan Cai), header image from

About the Author

Isaac is a Year 2 FASS student, intending to major in Political Science. He wants to explore and understand the world, but is content with just surviving in university for now. He loves the works of Haruki Murakami, and finds the magical realism in everyday life.