From the moment I stepped foot onto this red-bricked campus, I carried on my shoulders the weight of various burdens and promises to my parents, sealed shut since I signed my statement of intent to attend USC.
I knew that in committing to four years at USC, I had resigned myself to a debilitating mountain of student debt and the task of maintaining a high enough GPA to fund my scholarships. I also held the expectations of either attending law school or pursuing a graduate degree in the future.
Parental expectations marginally exist in college — the weeks fly by, and for me, daily calls turned into weekly calls and a few text messages sent in-between. I don’t mind, but the semblance of guilt and childish desire for praise strikes me every time I consider sharing with my parents my overpacked schedule that screams, “I’m tanking my GPA, but at least my resume is recruiter-worthy!”
I am a hopeless overachiever, and this column is somewhat of a privileged preface to my academic and emotional decline, which I can never explicitly share to my parents. I never believed in the sophomore slump until I found myself apartment-hopping, desperately trying to escape my roach-infested kitchen, scrambling to find writers to pick up news stories and enduring a non-stop eight-hour class schedule three days a week so I can intern at a publication beyond my wildest dreams.
It’s hard to explain this to my parents who believe academic success reflects professional success. In fact, I am anything but an overachiever to them; in their eyes, extracurriculars and internships are important but not necessary.
The undeniable pressure that many students feel here to succeed, not only academically but also professionally, is mentally debilitating, and I, the once-confident overachieving freshman, have fallen prey to that. There are individuals out there who are arguably in worse situations than me, but looking back at my freshman year, I only wish to relive it.
There’s always the calm before a storm — the uneasy feeling of peaceful tranquility you deserve before the whirlwind of stress, emotions and academics unexpectedly hit you. I guess I’m currently living in the calm; I’m constantly on-edge, not only about academics but also on my extracurriculars and the terrible housing situation I’m trying to resolve. I constantly feel isolated from my close group of friends, and I rely too much on sleeping on my boyfriend’s twin XL mattress to escape sleeping alone. After this summer, I also realized I am incapable of doing my own laundry without the assistance of said boyfriend, so I guess the summer before sophomore year did not result in enough personal growth on my behalf.
I know, I know. It’s only been the first week of school and I’ve painted a terrible premonition of the upcoming semester in a non-poetic manner, but I actually am quite excited for another year’s journey of metaphorical ups and downs.
The funny thing about living a sporadic college lifestyle is you never know where it’s going to take you, and currently, the sophomore slump has taken me to the, “I want to lay here and never get up” destination of my life.