Get to the life rafts!
I don’t have much time. We don’t have much time. We sophomores have been working hard this semester to keep the Slump at bay. At times it seemed like we had even gained the upper hand. But alas, all of our progress might be for naught. The storm is coming. In fact, I fear it is already upon us.
Hurricane Finals, circa RIGHT NOW.
There is still time to escape, to save yourself before the tempest strikes. You can drop a class anytime before finals. I strongly urge anyone reading this to drop all of their classes IMMEDIATELY, and then walk in a quiet and orderly fashion to the nearest fallout shelter. There should be enough Spam in there to last you until junior year, when it will be safe to come out again.
Yeah no things are great, super great. I wish I could be a sophomore forever.
Uh oh. It’s almost time to go home for Thanksgiving break. That means I’m gonna have to convince my family and friends that sophomore year is somehow better than freshman year.
But it is better, right? I mean, I won’t have to lie about having made tons of new friends this year. Because I do have tons of new friends, right?
Of course, my family will be more concerned about academics, which is good for me, cause I’m a much better student now. Last year I rarely went to my professors’ office hours, but as a sophomore, I make a point of going all the time… well, really more like sometimes. Except for that one professor, who I’ve never even talked to, but I’ll definitely stop by their office hours before the semester ends.
As a sophomore, I am simply more confident about my academic plan. This year, I can proudly announce to my friends and family that I will almost certainly be concentrating in History, or Portuguese, or American Studies, or Africana Studies, or maybe Urban Studies cause I took this really cool class that talked about cities and stuff, but I could also do like an independent concentration in something cool, plus I like books so Comp Lit is still on the table. I’ve come a long way since freshman year. Continue Reading
I have a long and troubled history with epistemology. I have no beef with the branch of philosophy that it refers to, but the word itself caused me a good deal of grief last year.
Like, I presume, most first years, I arrived at Brown with little knowledge of academic buzzwords. One of the most intimidating things about being in class as a first year is the volume of specialized vocabulary that you seemingly must learn in order to receive a passing grade and/or carry on a coherent conversation. (Let me add here that during freshman fall I took a couple of Anthro classes, which are essentially glorified buzzword orgies.)
Some of the most common academic catchphrases are easy enough to understand. To “unpack” is to dissect the complex meaning of a phrase, action, or thought; a “dichotomy” happens when there are two things; and “problematizing” is the process of realizing that something you like actually sucks.
Tip to resist the Slump: Remind yourself what a dweeb you were last year.
You’ve been warned about the Sophomore Slump. I’ve been warned about the Sophomore Slump. We’ve all been warned about the Sophomore Slump. As my first year at Brown drew to a close last spring, a preemptive sense of nostalgia crept over me. It was surely all downhill from here.
I returned this semester as a sophomore, teeth gritted against the inevitable plunge in motivation. No matter several positive developments—I had a nice room, I had friends, I could locate Smitty B on a map—I expected my life to turn sour at any moment.
There is still plenty of time left for me to lose all sense of purpose, but so far sophomore year has been a marked improvement over freshman year. Take the Activities Fair, for example.
It’s too hot. Now it’s too humid. Uh-oh, now it’s raining. During the first few days back on College Hill, students have aired a laundry list of complaints about a whole range of meteorological conditions.
And I get it. Providence weather is fickle, and some people find that frustrating. Humidity that causes you to break a sweat just by thinking too hard isn’t fun. Neither is a surprise rainstorm that pounces on you as you leave class.
But it’s worth looking on the bright side of things. The days are warm, and even at night temperatures are barely dipping below sixty degrees. On top of that, until today we’ve had plenty of sun. Things certainly could be worse. In fact, they often have been worse.
- For those who are wont to complain about a brief afternoon shower, it’s worth remembering Superstorm Sandy, which turned Providence, and most of the Northeast, into a lake. And not a fun lake that you could waterski on or swim in, but an angry lake that flooded streets and would have happily ripped you out to sea.
- In 2013, Nor’easter Nemo pounded across New England, dumping enough snow to break the spirits of even the most optimistic Dory-like students on campus.
- And, of course, there’s the series of snowstorms that all but obliterated Providence last winter. We got so much snow that even Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy Russell Carey couldn’t save us. But he did grant us two snow days. To show our gratitude, we nominated him for President of the United States of America.
Carey is drawing low numbers in recent polls, but his favorability is expected to skyrocket if he gives us another snow day.
Napoleon Bonaparte after a particularly enjoyable conversation at the orientation ice cream social, ca. 1812.
Listen up, First-Years.
As you arrive on campus you will be greeted with good wishes and encouragement. I was in your shoes only last year, so I remember those heady days well. But take my warning, friends, and do not let yourself be lulled into complacency, for hidden between the happy team-building activities lies the greatest battle of your life: The ice cream social.
“The Ice Cream Social?” You ask. “But that sounds like so much fun! Surely you are mistaken.”
I am not. To survive the evening of mingling and make-your-own-sundaes you must become a social warrior, raising a shield of vague responses as you charge through barrages of small-talk.
Agamemnon did not sail for Troy alone, and you should not show up at the social without a buddy. Pair up with your roommate, or anyone else that you already know a little bit. You and your roommate can cover for each other in group conversations by laughing at your own lame jokes and making references to your room (or any other commonality that you’ve already discussed). Battling through the social together is also a great way to bond with your roommate. Just ask the guys from Band of Brothers. [Ed. This might be a borderline exaggeration, but you’ll have to see for yourself!]