Sophomore blues? Lost and need to make a change.

Feeling lost. I’m currently a sophomore at NYU for film, which is considered one of the best schools out there for that major. I’m not going to deny, the resources here and (some) professors are incredible. Freshman year for the most part was exciting and new. I decided to get an apartment with friends and stay in the city even for the summer so that I could work and do film shoots.

I don’t know what changed. A week or two before school started while in NYC, I started feeling depressed. I began to hate the city I thought I loved. Started classes, and I’m finding everything unchallenging. I’m bored, but don’t have the energy to do much either. I’m questioning my major even though I really do have talent in this field.

I’m not sure why, but I now feel that being here is wrong. Something doesn’t feel right, and I just want to get as far away from NYC as possible. My long distance boyfriend from home and I just broke up, and this has triggered me needing to get away even more. I’m talking to my parents about taking a semester off although I’m not sure what I will do during that time besides go back home to them. I don’t really see myself being in school anymore since I can’t picture a place that is right for me. I just lost my motivation.

What should I do? Is this just the sophomore blues that I just need to get through? I thought I was happy a few months ago, but I guess the excitement of feeling independent wore off.

Get yourself to the counseling center and explore this change in feelings more deeply before making a big decision like leaving school, especially since you are in a name brand school and location that is so good for your proposed profession. It may be that your break up has left you feeling “sick” and it is natural to want to be with your parents. It could also be sophomore blues, but you should see a counselor to make sure it is not full blown depression. In any case all of these situations and their feelings are temporary. You may just need help sorting through them.

Thanks for the advice. I’m going to start seeing a counselor at school, though I still have a few weeks until the appointment unfortunately. I am going to try hard to finish out this semester, but I don’t think I will be able to return in the spring if this doesn’t improve.

In the meantime, do the best to maintain your studies to the best of your ability. Keeping your grades within passing or better rather than letting them fall to Fs will keep doors open to you in the future as far as continuing education goes. Your health, mental or physical, has to take a priority. If you do get diagnosed with depression, you may want to explore whether or not you can take a leave of absence next semester in order to keep the NYU door open.

Sophomore years kind of sucks…you start thinking about what you really want to do if you havens already, financial issues come to play, and you wonder if you’ll succeed or not. I have no advice because I’m the same predicament.

School is worth it! Hang in there :slight_smile: Give counseling a chance, and give yourself a chance by keeping up this semester.

Sophomore year can be tough because the shine has worn off a bit, you know what you are in for as far as the challenging work load goes, and the end still seems a long way off. And yes, the money worries are very real for many. I agree, give counseling a shot, and keep those studies up to the best of your ability while you work through the emotional stuff.

Sophomore slump!

It WILL get better.

I think your emotions are numb from the break-up, and therefore you cannot feel any excitement about anything right now. That will pass.

It doesn’t mean at all that your excitement about NYU and film are gone – you’re just momentarily numb as a form of self-protection. It’s a natural response to grief that will go away as you process through the different stages of grief over the loss of your relationship with your boyfriend.

In the meantime, recall that many people past and present have their eyes set on the end goal of their time in college, not on their current pleasures or lack of pleasures.

My own father worked his way through college, often going hungry, by working at a slaughterhouse, digging ditches, repairing radios and ultimately jumping out of airplanes for the military to get his degree. That’s because he knew what a degree could do for him socioeconomically, and he’s had a very good life as a result, with lots of success achieving all of his dreams.

More relevant to you, I know someone who worked her way through NYU film school with three part-time jobs, plus scholarships and loans, and she went on to travel the world attending film festivals year after year, hanging out with all kinds of celebrities. She has an absolute dream life. That might be you one day.

My point is, don’t let your current mood dictate your life – remember your end goals, and let those guide you through the tough times.

Just hang in there, look up some information on how to recover from a breakup and process grief, go to your counseling, and see this as an opportunity to become more resilient and persistent. I don’t think this is a sign for you to make drastic changes with your college plans, since it appears that your feelings and lack of enthusiasm are stemming from your breakup and not anything directly related to your studies or location.

If you feel like you must get away a semester, why don’t you try applying for a study abroad program rather than heading home. After all, why head to where your ex-boyfriend is? That surely won’t make you feel any better! Going home could make you feel even more depressed and bored, whereas studying abroad typically makes people feel like they can accomplish anything, and it gets their minds focused on new exciting things. Another option would be to seek out an internship for a semester.


First thing to do: recognize that what you are feeling is a very NORMAL feeling that lots of people experience a year or so into anything new: college in a new place, a first job, a marriage, etc. Big, life-changing events can trigger a rush of excitement for a while, and when it wears off, the dip can be a very low thing. The alarm at suddenly feeling this way can spiral and make it even worse; you begin to think that maybe something is wrong with you, when really you are far from alone in feeling this way. If you understand that this is something that happens NORMALLY to many people, you can begin to address it.

Second thing to do: schedule an appointment for the university’s counseling services. Just call, or go online (however it works at your college) and schedule it for a time that is NOT during a busy part of your day/week. Baby steps.

Third: go to that appointment. This is absolutely critical.

Fourth: keep your parents updated on every single little thing. It sounds like you have been doing this; that’s great.

Fifth: Do not schedule anything over the winter break; go home and rest and reflect. Spend time with old friends. Heal from the breakup. However, do sign up for classes next semester, pay attention to your coursework, and carry on as though you WILL be back next semester.

Remember, getting into NYU’s film school was an amazing achievement. Getting through NYU’s film school will be another amazing achievement. But getting through an episode like this in your life by persevering despite your very real (but NORMAL) internal struggles will be probably one of the greatest learning experiences and achievements of your life, and will lay the groundwork for how you deal with such things in the future.

Edit to add: you are in a creative field. People in these fields do experience slumps and need breaks to renew their inspiration and creativity. It might not have been the best idea to work through your first summer away, as a fledgling filmmaker. When you start to feel this lack of motivation in the future, stop, take a break, renew your energy, and bounce back with new ideas and inspirations.