News, On Campus

MCAS Senior Discernment Series Utilizes Reflection to Explore the BC Experience

Boston College launched a six-week senior discernment series this semester that aims to encourage students to reflect upon their time at BC and prepare them for life after graduation, according to Tom Mogan, the facilitator of the series. 

“I wanted to think about ways in which we could help students manage that transition and have the confidence going forward that they are prepared, you know, to handle the challenges and the opportunities of post-grad life,” said Mogan, the associate dean for seniors in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.

The objectives of the senior discernment series—which is exclusively for MCAS students—include fostering decision-making skills and critical reflection, exploring personal values and their alignment with future goals, integrating a liberal arts education into future life and work, and building community among seniors, according to Mogan. 

The series officially began on Sept. 26, and 16 seniors are currently participating.

“I want them to walk away with an action plan to enhance their senior year and their post-college life,” Mogan said. 

The program was inspired by a similar series the Carroll School of Management hosted for seniors last year, which was led by Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs Ethan Sullivan. Mogan said he had a discussion with Sullivan about the BC fourth-year experience and how to guide students in their senior year. 

“Some of us were just having an informal conversation about what we are doing with our seniors to help them make sense of their BC experience, to give them these formational opportunities, and also to have conversations about what they are going to take from their BC experience to the next step of their life,” Sullivan said.  

Mogan said the decision to launch the MCAS series was also influenced by feedback he received from students during his time as associate dean of student affairs and as a resident minister. 

“[Students] just wanted to have meaningful conversations about their senior year, about how to make decisions and how to discern their future, and then also how to think about their liberal arts education in the context of what the world needs them to be,” Mogan said.

After sharing his goals with Dean of MCAS Rev. Gregory Kalscheur, S.J., Mogan sent out an email on Sept. 14 that contained a brief description of the series and the planned meeting dates, which spanned from Sept. 26 to Nov. 7. The email asked students to fill out a registration form if they were interested in and able to attend the series. 

Mogan said during the first session on Sept. 26, the students took turns introducing themselves and shared one aspect of their senior year they were excited about, one aspect they were anxious about, and one hope they had for their time together. 

“I wrote [their goals] down and they almost clearly aligned with what I had set as the goals without even telling them,” Mogan said.

Reese Butcher, MCAS ’24, said the series interested her because she was looking for direction about how to apply for jobs and what careers to pursue after graduation.

Butcher said Mogan guides the participants through the Ignatian Examen at the end of each session to reflect on their own experiences, which she said has benefited her already.

“I actually felt so good coming out of [the examen] and felt like I really kind of have a better perspective, even after the first couple of sessions, on my BC experience and what I’m going to do going forward, which I really was not expecting going into [the series],” Butcher said.

Mogan said the series will culminate in a final dinner as a way to thank the students for their participation in the series and for their contributions to the BC community.

“When I was dean of students, I used to have ‘Dinners with the Dean’ and invite people into our house and have dinners with students,” Mogan said. “I just know that it is always a good way to build community and have meaningful discussions.”

Although the current program is a pilot this semester, Mogan said he hopes to re-offer it in the spring. 

Dominic Ferrucci, MCAS ’24, said he chose to participate in the series because he does not know what he wants to do after he graduates, and he wanted to hear from other students who felt similarly.

According to Ferrucci, the discernment series would be beneficial for anyone, as it allows students to think about their time at BC and what they would like to improve in their lives.

 “This class is obviously catered to discernment and what God has planned for your life, but it’s also catered to reflecting on your experience at BC and reflecting on your strengths and what you can improve upon,” Ferrucci said.

October 15, 2023