Boston College should make a concerted effort to better incorporate the Class of 2024 into the BC community. So far, BC has largely neglected the Class of 2024, whose college experience thus far has been defined by COVID-19. Both freshmen and sophomores are experiencing a normal first year at BC together, equally in awe of what a fully functioning campus looks like.
The sophomore class, however, is suffering from a bad case of middle-child syndrome.
The sophomore class missed out on integral BC first-year traditions that bring together each grade to form a community between the classes. The neglect is obvious: Just take a look at the skinny Class of 2024 photo. Many sophomores did not show up because it was non-mandatory and lacked the usual Superfan 101 fanfare every other grade experienced. Compared to the Class of 2025 photo, the Class of 2024 photo is more than an embarrassing picture. It is a testament to the lack of unity within the sophomore class.
BC prides itself on its ability to welcome and connect students in a way that creates a sense of community. BC’s strong sense of community is one of its greatest strengths, and it is essential in supporting students in realizing their full potential. The Office of First Year Experience aims to facilitate the process of community building and is “designed to help all students engage more fully with the University and challenge themselves to realize their full potential.” BC has a notably good first-year experience, which is ranked 16th in the nation by U.S. News. In a normal year, BC does a great job of facilitating meaningful relationships among first-years and creating a campus-wide sense of community.
Organizations like the Office of Student Involvement, the Center for Student Formation, and the Campus Activities Board (CAB) should make an effort to bring the class of 2024 together. The sophomore social at the beginning of the year was a start, but compared to Discover Boston, CAB’s Boardwalk night, and opportunities for connection and reflection like 48Hours which are hosted exclusively for freshmen, the cocktail hour in the Rat fell short.
The result of the Class of 2024’s abnormal freshman year is a class that is struggling to fully integrate into the rest of the BC community. Some sophomores aren’t in any clubs or were in clubs that only operated online last year—and now feel like they’re a year late to the game. A gap exists between the sophomores and the other classes because the natural mentorship that would have formed through clubs and sports was not as effective in a virtual format. Moreover, there are many opportunities at BC that most sophomores have yet to discover, because they don’t even know where to look. Programs like Stride—which runs during the fall semester and “is specifically designed to help sophomores feel established at BC”—and Halftime—a retreat for sophomores and upperclassmen—are valuable, existing experiences for sophomores, and should be more effectively advertised to the sophomore class. Sophomore exclusive events like a sophomore involvement fair for mentorship programs and e-board positions would help bring the Class of 2024 together.
The Class of 2024 is an important part of the BC community, and the University should implement programming to help sophomores feel fully welcome and integrated.