So you figured out which floor of O’Neill you like best and how fast you can sprint to Campion when you hit snooze one too many times. You navigated the long lines at Eagle’s Nest and you finally learned how to do the “WE ARE” chant at football games after many (and I mean MANY) failed attempts. You survived your first semester at Boston College! And hopefully you got some good grades and made a few friends along the way. So second semester should be a breeze, right?
Second semester throws so many curveballs at freshmen that its often one of the harder semesters of a student’s college career, especially at Boston College. You get to actually explore your classes before registration and you finally realize that you can change your schedule at will. The chaos that is BC Housing rears its ugly head and you unwillingly get swept into the paranoia. You start to reflect on the group of friends you’ve surrounded yourself with and the ways you fill your free time. And for those of you who aren’t from the Northeast, “spring” semester means “bitter cold” semester. In the blur of fall semester, we don’t always recognize the impact our decisions have on our mental health and our development as individuals. So here is (unwarranted) advice based on my limited experience, glowing victories, and bitter failures.
Research your classes. Its college – you can take the classes you want. I spent hours in a class that literally put me to sleep because I had this stupid notion that because the little blurb on Agora Portal made the class seem interesting, I should stick it out. I thought I should just show up and get through it and it would be worth it. But if you’re taking a class in college that you don’t like, it isn’t worth it. Granted, you have to take some specific classes for your major, but in every case, try to figure out what you like about the class and what you don’t, because if you realize you like the professor and not the material, consider reevaluating your major. And research your professors beforehand, because they will make or break your experience. Ask upperclassmen or friends, ask your advisor, ask your RA, ask anyone. And figure out PEPs too because it’s insanely confusing and no one knows how exactly to work it.
Prepare yourself for your first round of housing. Housing is its own monster and you’ll see a million more flyers and articles on how to survive that whole ordeal. BC’s system is not a popular one, and everyone starts to freak out about it the second they return for the spring. Don’t do that. Start by having an open and calm conversation with the person you want to be your direct roommate. THINK HARD ABOUT WHO YOU WANT TO LIVE WITH, PEOPLE! I know so many people that chose to live with their best friend, but they can’t stand living with each other because their living habits are so different. It’s essential to be understanding and open-minded when it comes to other peoples’ decisions and situations. Whatever happens, trust that you will still have friends, housing, a roommate, and a great sophomore year. Do not freak out about not getting an 8-man. We were actually surprised on 8-man day of housing when very few of our friends got a pick time. I live on CoRo and I absolutely love it. I make it to Lower every weekend (and make it back to CoRo most), and I make it to Higgins every morning at 9AM after waking up at 8:50. CoRo dorms are arguably the best dorms on campus and you don’t have to clean your own bathroom. Sure, it would be real nice to have your own common room and more closet space if you have the option. But the reality is that wherever you end up you’re going to be fine. (Except Greycliffe – don’t get Greycliffe.)
And finally, take some time for yourself. When I arrived at BC, it was a nonstop blur of class and social events. I rarely called home, and I didn’t think about if what I was doing and who I was hanging out with made me better. So when second semester rolled around and social circles started shifting, I was lost. What’s more, I hadn’t made those deep connections with my friends or had those meaningful conversations that had been promised to me by my orientation leaders. And so I began to reevaluate who and what I needed in my life to make me a better version of myself. It’s been a long journey that I’m sure that will continue for the rest of my life as I try to decide what makes me better.
So far, my sophomore year has given me a lot of change, and a few dark times, and the people that I knew had made me better in spring semester held me up when I couldn’t go it alone. I’m so thankful for them every day and for the way they have supported me. Had I not critically looked at the life I was leading in the spring of my freshman year, I wouldn’t have known who, if anyone, would be there when I stumbled. Sure, it matters who’s going to be next to you trying to get into that mod, or who’s going to help you study. But it’s also important to know who is going to listen to you when life gets real, and to know for whom you would drop everything to help. So my last, best piece of advice: when those two groups of people match up, know that you’ve found something special.
All Photos courtesy of Emma Allen