This past summer, during freshman orientation, I was introduced to 48HOURS, a retreat offered for BC freshman. It was marketed as a great experience… As long as you were about to overcome the crippling FOMO (“fear of missing out”) just to get on the bus. At orientation, I loved the idea of the retreat. I laughed at the mention of FOMO, not even considering it a possibility for my future self. I registered for the retreat as soon as I was able.
Originally choosing the first available retreat, I was absolutely thrilled to be able to spend a November weekend away. As fall semester began, I threw myself into life at BC. I auditioned for The University Chorale and was accepted, and went on to join an even more selective subgroup of chorale called The Chamber Singers. I was feeling very included and slightly overcommitted, managing six classes, multiple performance groups, and settling into my new life at BC all at the same time. Because of my involvements, I was unable to attend not only the first, but also the second retreat. I was forced to push my retreat weekend into February.
Winter break was much needed for me. It was full of relaxing chats with my mom and my best friend, visiting my best friends from childhood, and finishing seasons of countless shows on Netflix. Something was still off though. I couldn’t shake this feeling, but I also couldn’t put the feeling into words.
As second semester began, I was engulfed again in the whirlpool of Boston College overcommitment. I added another class to my already heavy workload, and auditioned for an a cappella group, the Boston College Dynamics. I was accepted! Feeling very included, I was thrilled. Each week was packed with a non-stop schedule of events, culminating into equally eventful weekends.
By the time February 6 came around, I couldn’t imagine myself leaving campus. I had no time to breathe – I was running from one commitment to the next. The Dynamics also had a retreat planned for the weekend of my 48HOURS. I called my mom, questioning which retreat to choose. Who would I rather spend time with? Should I make new friends or become closer with the ones I had? My parents and I agreed. I had committed to 48HOURS, so that was that.
On Friday night, I dragged myself to meet the buses at Lower. I wasn’t too thrilled that I was missing a weekend with my friends at home, and I was very upset I was missing a Dynamics weekend. When I sat on the bus, everything changed. I was immediately introduced to Speed Dating, an icebreaker activity where you make about 30 new friends in 30 minutes. I was feeling a bit better about the trip.
Between that moment and the moment I left Sunday at noon, I made an amazing group of friends. My roommates were adorable and we talked for hours. My group was full of dynamic, passionate people that I was so blessed to connect with. My group leader was the definition of a role model, facilitating immeasurably memorable conversations between the members of our group.
One particular part of the program that struck me began on Saturday night. After a number of amazing discussions, everyone on the retreat was shuffled out of the banquet room in which we had spent our day. We were re-invited back and encouraged to silently sit with our groups to reflect and write a journal entry. I realized that for the first time during my freshman year, I had the time to stop and think about how I felt about things – how my year was going, how my friendships were forming, how I spent my time, and so on. I felt something for the first time in a very long time. I had been so busy before that I didn’t allow myself to feel. I had just kept pushing myself forward.
“Things are already spinning a little out of control. Freshman year is flying by so fast. It’s easy to say it’s all going according to plan, but sometimes I’m so busy that I don’t have the time to feel anything. It feels so good to just let myself feel something.”
48HOURS allowed for me to reflect. That was something I so desperately needed. I didn’t realize it at the time, but had I fallen for my FOMO, I would’ve missed out on one of the best weekends of my life. I’m so blessed and grateful to have had the experience of attending a retreat. I’ve made great friends, freshman, sophomores, and seniors included. I’ve connected with myself in a way that I was previously unable to. Finally, I found what Boston College was all about – a community of men and women that truly are for others.
Dear Future Freshmen – don’t let your FOMO win. Attend 48HOURS. It might change your life as it changed mine.