While finishing my second year of employment as a new Student Affairs Professional, I realized I had less energy and less enthusiasm for my work. During the first year, everything and everyone is so new and exciting. You may be on your own, earning a salary for the first time, or starting to build a life in a new town. You feel accomplished for finding a position that justifies the anguish of your graduate program. However, in the second year, things are different. The campus politics become more apparent. The days are no longer exciting adventures. Instead, you spend them plugging through the never-ending email deluge. You may ask yourself, “What is happening? I thought I loved this profession, this institution, this career.”
This is the SA Professionals’ Sophomore Slump.
So now that we have identified the problem, what can we do? Here are my tips for battling the Sophomore Slump. Some probably sound familiar—much like suggestions we provide for students.
1. Get involved in something new
We have all encouraged a student at one time or another to “get involved” in something. This suggestion can also work wonders for us! It may take some time to research different options in the community, but a new exercise class, religious group, or book club may be the “something different” you need to pull yourself out of the slump.
2. Establish (or re-establish) a healthy routine
When we start something new, such as a new job, we often hope to change our routines for the better. When I began my professional career, I hoped to do some meal preparation and to go to the gym more regularly. Unfortunately, my schedule became more crowded, and consequently, my goals slipped away. Moving your healthy lifestyle goals to the top of your priority list is a good way of refreshing your mindset about work and life.
3. Refresh your space
Recently, I moved my computer tower off my desk and took some clutter out of my apartment. It is amazing how simple changes can make you feel more motivated. If you are frustrated staring at the same things in your office/home/car/wherever, take the time to adjust and make them more inspirational. Additionally, an inexpensive favorite quote printed out and framed is a nice refresher to any space.
4. Reassess how you spend your time
Are your days packed with meaningless meetings? Is the line at the coffee shop in the morning increasingly taking up your time? Take a critical look at your calendar. Rather than continuing what you’ve been doing, decide what you enjoy and need to do. Furthermore, figure out what you can remove. If you want to become involved in something new (as suggested in #1), something old has to go.
What are your favorite ways to combat the sophomore slump? Let us know in the comments and happy end of the semester!
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Cristina Lawson at firstname.lastname@example.org.