Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Crystal Machado

Second Advisor

DeAnna Laverick

Third Advisor

Julie Ankrum


Sophomore year tends to pose many concerns for college students academically, personally, and socially. College sophomores are making monumental career and personal decisions, which can lead to undue stress, anxiety, and depression coupled with developmental challenges. In recent years, universities across the United States have started to pay closer attention to college sophomore student concerns; however, the empirical literature is lacking in this area. Through the lens of Cognitive Appraisal Theory, this qualitative study analyzed the lived experiences of 18 junior college students who reflected on the tribulations of their sophomore year. A Husserlian descriptive phenomenological approach, with the assistance of NVivo software, was used to analyze the data. Participants report high stress ranging from seven to ten on a 10-point scale. Participants were academically, personally, and socially stressed. The findings indicate that most participants used positive coping techniques to handle their stress. The findings also show that faculty and campus resources played a role in helping the participants with successfully working through their difficult experiences.