_______ ______________________________The Michigan Daily - Tuesday,_December 13, 1994 - 5
SophoIores struggle with second-ye rum
G rades, social relations plum m et "The term 'sophomore slump' is a want to use the skills to further their more slump not as the cause of their tem and still get by," Roth said.
generalization that I've heard, but it is knowledge in future classes. panic, but as a result of it. "They'll realize that they're setting
in 2nd year, slum p seem s apparent not universal by any means," Judge In the upper-level classes, "stu- Stress accumulates as the year themselves up for a bad situation.
said. "I find that in the sophomore dents are much more motivated and progresses, which causes some stu- This is where the sophomore slump
By MATT COLMAN
Special to the Daily
Plop, plop. Fizz, fizz.
Just like Alka-Seltzer tablets in a
glass of water, Marvin Eng's motiva-
tion has sunk to its lowest point. His
grades have dissolved as well, leav-
ing an uncertain feeling about his
academic future. If he does not re-
cover soon, he may need that same
glass of Alka-Seltzer to relieve the
stress brought on by this slump.
Eng, a LSA sophomore, is suffer-
ing from the dreaded sophomore
)lump, where seemingly sufficient
time and effort put into studying yield
less than encouraging results.
"Everything gets routine and tedious
very quickly," Eng said. "I want to do
well, but I continue to receive poor
grades no matter what I do. I've been
taken out ofmy rhythm and it's difficult
to find it again; I've lost focus."
Eng is not alone. Sophomores past
and present have felt the hopeless-
ness and that accompanies the slump,
especially with final exams rapidly
Engineering sophomore Brian
Irwin said his grades are slumping as
well. He said his slipping grade point
average has caused him to miss out on
many activities and opportunities be-
cause he always feels he should be
studying, trying to improve his GPA.
1 "I don't think my exam grades are a
good representation ofmy knowledge of
the material," Irwin said. "I'm learning
to evaluate myself in terms of myself,
not in terms of others. As long as I've
Continued from Page 1.
Black male repondents rated the
University's retention ofminority fac-
ulty between poor and moderate.
Of the respondents, women tended
to be less satisfied with University
and school or college efforts toward
improving minority status than their
Senate Assembly members were
wary of the survey results because
only 29 percent of those contacted
plied to the questions.
"You are talking about a response
rate of less than a third. It's hard to
think that is representative," Educa-
tion Prof. Valerie Lee said. "Two-
thirds of those surveyed did not think
that it was important enough to re-
Bashur said he does not think the
lack of responses indicates indiffer-
nce or invalidates the report. "We
annot depend exclusively on the re-
sults of the survey."
The report also found that most
college officials are dissatisfied with
their success in recruiting and retain-
ing minority faculty members.
Demographic analysis showed that
the proportion of Black associate pro-
fessors has remained constant while
the number of full professors has de-
Pined since the introduction of the
done my best, then I can't complain."
After the first term of his sopho-
more year, LSA senior Derek Hill had
a2.0GPA. The sophomore slump had
gotten the best of him.
"I didn't seem as smart as every-
one else," Hill said. "After trying so
hard, it didn't seem like I was getting
anything out of i. I stopped applying
myself, got depressed and gave up."
Hill said during his sophomore
year he could be found doing any-
year, students are still taking a lot of
introductory classes as well as a num-
ber of their first upper-level classes."
According to Judge, upper-level
classes require greater proficiency in
knowing how to do harder work and
be successful at it. He said some stu-
dents lack this skill and the result is
what they see as the sophomore slump.
"The freshman year you're very
committed and work very hard," Judge
said. "The sophomore year, you don't
have the newness and enthusiasm of
disciplined,"Gerson said. "They learn
economic tools and how to apply them
dents to exaggerate the importance of
individual grades, rather than focus-
ing on their overall academic perfor-
in later classes.'
tained from the
show a similarity
between first- and
s e c o n d - y e a r
grades, but refute
Judge's claim of
The 1992 en-
'The sophomore year ...
you're not close enough
to the finish to want to
-- Charles Judge
LSA academic adviser
their college ca-
reer. Students must
said Morales, but
it is often difficult
"It's hard to
when you're right
in the middle of a
thing that did not
This led him to fail
out of the Univer-
sity by the second
"I took 11
credits at the Uni-
versity of Michi-
til I got about a
3.0, then U-M let
'I want to do well, but I
continue to receive
poor grades no matter
the previous year
and you're not
close enough to
the finish to want
to keep moti-
What I do.'
me come back to
Ann Arbor," he said.
Academic advisors say the sopho-
more slump is often a perceived no-
tion of one's performance, not a rep-
resentation of academic statistics.
Charles Judge, director of the LSA
Academic Advising Office, said he
does not see the sophomore slump as
a pattern occurring in past years. Sec-
ond-year grades are very similar to
first-year students' grades, if not
slightly higher, he said.
Judge did not want generalize
lower grades as a widespread prob-
lem for sophomores, but wanted to
focus more on individual situations.
Eng agrees. He
Marvin Eng said that every-
thing is new and
sophomore refreshing during
the first year of
college. As time progresses, the ex-
citement wears off, and decisions have
more of a bearing on future career
Economics Prof. Janet Gerson,
who teaches both 200- and 400-level
classes, said the difference between
those students in introductory classes
and those taking upper-level classes
causes her to change her teaching
Because of the diverse back-
grounds and interests of introductory
students, Gerson said she tries to give
a solid conceptual background for
those who just want an introduction
to economics as well as for those who
tering class had an average fall term
GPA of 3.01. In 1993, the same class,
then sophomores, had an average fall
term GPA of 2.94. Additional statis-
tics dating back to 1990 show very
Although this drop is not signifi-
cant enough to characterize the lower
GPA as a widespread "slump," it is
not uncommon for many students to
feel as if it was.
Toni Morales, an LSA academic
adviser, said students often feel over-
whelmed in their sophomore year, the
most difficult year in her opinion. She
agrees with Judge that, for sopho-
mores, "the thrill is gone from start-
In her two years of working at the
University, most of the students Mo-
rales has counseled regarding aca-
demic crises have been sophomores.
"It's the year when students seem to
feel the pressure of deciding a major,
and there's a lot of confusion and
panic," Morales said. She also views
students' perception of the sopho-
crisis," she said.
expectations, many students may per-
ceive the slump to go beyond their
Some students elude the slump their
sophomore year only to have it catch
up with them in the years to follow.
Randall Roth, an LSA junior, did
not experience a slump his sopho-
more year. In fact, he did the oppo-
site, raising his GPA from 3.2 to 3.56.
Roth attributes his successful sopho-
more year to being confident, yet not
He said that the sophomore slump
occurs when people get into a groove
and they think they have seen it all in
their short time at the University.
"Everyone thinks they're Ferris
Bueller and they can cheat the sys-
sinks most people."
Although Roth's grades did not
sag during his sophomore year, he
said he is now working harder then
ever, achieving "sub-par results"
from the time and effort he puts into
But Roth does not characterize
these results as a "junior slump."
"Harder work comes with the ter-
ritory," he said. "As long as I do my
best, I have nothing to be upset about.
I don't want to think about what could
Eng does not see his slump con-
tinuing through his remaining college
years. "I'll eventually see myself in
this hole and I'll have to dig myself
out," he said.
Morales urges sophomores to
"keep plugging away" at their work,
without being too hard on themselves,
"Students should keep expecta-
tions high, but not unreachable," she
said. "They often try too hard to please
others and they forget about pleasing
She also reminds sophomores to
keep perspective, there are still two
more years to go.
Colman is a free-lance writer and
an LSA sophomore.
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Michigan Mandate, alUniversity-wide
program to improve the climate for
Black faculty members are more
likely to leave the school than their
Asian and non-minority colleagues.
Under the mandate no Black women
have been promoted to the rank of full
professor, according to the report.
The study also found that full-
time tenure-track minority and women
faculty, in general, receive lower sala-
ries than their colleagues.
Provost Gilbert R. Whitaker Jr.
said he will consider the report's rec-
ommendations. He said adjustments
need to come from the schools, col-
leges and departments at the Univer-
"I don't have any objections to the
body of the report. What it suggested
to me is that we need to a lot of
bottom-up work," he said.
Whitaker said he plans to com-
mission a study of retention through
the University's Center for Higher
Education. The study would inter-
view faculty members who have left
Pi JNappa J~lph congratulates
its 3a1 1994 initiate class:
Jef f Nguyen