The Freshman: Saidhbhe Berry
My first thoughts about this past weekend’s 48Hours trip were a bit cynical. “48Hours has now become 47Hours, thanks to a bus that has arrived very, very late.” But after crowding onto the bus with about 40 other freshmen and struggling to figure out where to put one boy’s guitar, we were finally on our way to Plymouth, one of the two designated 48Hours locations for the weekend. As if to make up for the tardiness of the bus (and more importantly, to win over a group of freshmen in the easiest way possible) the second we walked into the hotel, we were told to go put our stuff away, then come back and get hot cocoa and cookies. No one will ever deny that the quickest way to a college student’s heart is through their stomach. Especially if baked goods are involved.
Once our hunger was sated long enough to get us to sit down in the ballroom, the introductions began. Sarah Gallenberg and Peter Folan, both of whom work in the First Year Experience office, led the retreat. While I didn’t get to speak to either of them one-on-one, Peter quickly won me over by cracking a joke about how we let his kids win the first ice breaker. He got a good laugh out of us, and then went on to explain how the weekend would work. We had already been assigned to our small groups, and throughout out the weekend we would be breaking off into these small groups to discuss different topics, such as “Friendships and Relationships” and “The Challenge of Academics.”
The leaders of the small groups were seniors, each of whom gave a short talk at some point during the weekend. Their talks were based off of five topics, two of which are mentioned above, and each was interesting in its own way—every senior had different perspectives and experiences to bring to the table. One senior at my session even spoke about her trip to Nepal, and if that isn’t an interesting story, I don’t know what is! These topics were designed to help us freshmen discuss with others how our year has been going so far. Not the usual “Hey, how’s it going?” and “Good, you?” but an actual conversation about how the adjustment has been and how we have been doing.
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let me tell you what 48Hours is like. While advisors and faculty members often have a lot of wisdom to share, there is nothing more genuine and appreciated than an upperclassman (in this case, the senior leaders) offering their views on a subject. As they are still in our situation, just a bit more progressed, they always have the best way of viewing things, or at least that’s what I have found. Not only were the seniors incredible to talk to, but the other freshmen in the session showed incredible support and maturity throughout the weekend. We discovered more about each other and ourselves than we ever thought we would. When my own small group broached the topic of “friendships and relationships,” we almost immediately jumped to a discussion of what makes a good friend. We quickly realized a lot of us had the exact same idea when it comes to a friend—not just someone you can have a good time with on a Friday night, but also someone you can go to with a problem and trust that you will have their full support; someone you can tell funny stories with about last weekend’s adventures and mishaps, and also someone you can discuss more serious topics with. We covered topics that would make your philosophy professor proud, like what it actually means to love someone or the function of religion in society.
Although I rarely get to see anyone from my group, as we all have busy schedules and most of them are on Newton Campus while I am on Upper, I still know I have nine more friends than I did before this past weekend, and that’s a good feeling. I won’t be overdramatic and say 48Hours changed my life irrevocably, but it definitely made the rest of freshman year look a lot less daunting, knowing there is a multitude of people I can talk to whenever the stress of school and extra-curriculars gets to be too much. So, all in all, is 48Hours worth going on? Yes, absolutely. Also… Who’s fine?? Group NINE!
The Leader: Meagan McCarthy
Simply put, I’m a retreat junkie. Since coming to BC, I’ve attended practically every retreat I could find: Beginnings, 48Hours, Halftime, and Kairos. Having gone on so many different retreats, I thought I knew what to expect when I was chosen to be one of the senior leaders for the 48Hours retreat in Falmouth, MA this past weekend. However, even after three weeks of training with the rest of the leaders and sophomore point guards, the retreat surprised me.
I think the most unexpected parts of the retreat were seeing how so many of the freshmen opened up and how this compared to my own experience as a freshman. As I sat and listened to freshmen in both my small group and the larger group last weekend, I was constantly impressed by how open, honest, and strong they were for sharing their stories. The change in the atmosphere of the room seemed almost tangible to me in the best way.
Although I shared a story of my own for the topic of “Unexpected Social Pressures”, this was something I had written down, edited, and rehearsed. I was prepared to share a part of myself with the freshmen – that’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to lead – and although it was terrifying, I knew what I was getting myself into. The freshmen didn’t, yet they shared anyways. I’m so impressed by the strength and transformations that I saw over the course of the weekend.
In addition to having a wonderful small group of freshmen (shout out to Group 8), I was lucky enough to work with the absolute best group of senior leaders, sophomore point guards, and faculty mentors, including Biz Bracher from FYE, Adrienne Dumpe from SPO, and Professor Braman and his wife. After knowing most of them for just a month, I feel like this group knows me better than some of my close friends. In this sense, I feel like I got so much more of the retreat than I expected. Now that I’m back at BC and coming down from my retreat high, I’m making an effort to remember everything that we discussed this weekend. For me, one of the key takeaways is the Jesuit ideals: Be Attentive, Be Reflective, Be Loving. It’s easy for these to get lost among piles of homework, studying, drama, and extra-curricular activities throwing our lives out of balance, but I think it’s something that is important to strive for.