Cerelia Victoria Bizzell



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The sophomore experience has been characterized with not only academic difficulty, but also psychosocial challenges (Schaller, 2010). This study sought to describe and examine the many different experiences African American sophomore students encountered at a predominately White institution (PWI). Moreover, this study looked to understand the stress coping mechanisms they have adapted when balancing academics, social life, and extracurricular activities. The findings revealed that African American sophomore students have had difficulty learning to trust their institution’s resources, have had a hard time balancing their social life, and have felt the need to mature faster than others. Incorporating a narrative study approach allowed students to reflect on their interpersonal and intrapersonal development, and give detail to how they dealt with the obstacles they faced during their second year. Future studies could focus on a particular gender in order to analyze the different stress coping mechanisms utilized by students.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Savio Dennis Franco

Primary Advisor's Department

Counselor Education


Stander Symposium project, student affairs, School of Education and Health Sciences

Living in the Slump: Second Year African American Undergraduate Students' Coping Mechanisms