The first year of college is about getting acclimated to life at Boston College, and students have many resources at their disposal to do so. Juniors and seniors commonly find themselves having determined their academic focus and eligible for leadership roles around campus, creating a healthy balance in their lives.
Sophomores are still in period of self-discovery, however, needing to determine their academic, social, and spiritual paths, and that’s where Stride comes in.
Stride is a group mentorship program that aims to address the needs of sophomores and enhance their college experiences. In an interview with The Heights, Mike Sacco, executive director of the center for student formation and office of first year experience, and Helen Ha, associate director of the center for student formation, explained that the initiative revolves around the “formational triangle:” a framework that aims to enhance the intellectual, social, and spiritual lives of students.
Image by the Center for Student Formation
They found that the Center for Student Formation offers lots of programs for first year students, like Compass, Ascend, and Freshman League, but not a lot for sophomores. Although they can take part in Halftime, an overnight opportunity to reflect on one’s trajectory in college, sophomores currently lack a program that is focused on serving them.
Stride has three main focuses, one of which is to help students build social connections through weekly small group meetings. Sacco believes that sophomores would benefit from having a space to discuss various aspects of their college experiences, like navigating living in 8-person suites, off-campus housing, and friendships.
“Sophomores are over the transition,” Sacco said. “But I don’t think they’re necessarily done with a need for good conversations with their peers, and especially an opportunity to make additional friends.”
Another valuable aspect of the program is that it introduces students to some of the most popular faculty on campus through a biweekly lecture series. As Sacco explained, due to the competitive nature of the course selection process, students often can’t take all of the best professors. But through this series, students would gain exposure to those professors, who would discuss a topic related to their courses and frame it around the lens of leadership. Sacco and Ha wanted Stride to have an intellectual bent to it, so they figured that this would be a great way to incorporate such an ideal.
Stride will also aim to provide students an opportunity to reflect on themselves as leaders. The purpose of the program is to help students begin to ask bigger questions about who they are and who they want to be as a person. To be a leader, Sacco explained, you first have to know yourself. Stride, therefore, combines an academic, social, and spiritual approach to help second year students integrate different aspects of their lives on campus.
“If Stride can provide a concrete way for you to reflect intellectually, open up and think about yourself and your interior life, make some friends, and learn how to be good leaders, we’ve hit our goal,” Sacco said.
Applications for rising sophomores to join the program opened April 3, and the deadline to apply is April 17.
“You often hear people talk about the sophomore slump,” Sacco said. “Our idea is that … instead of slumping, they’ll be hitting their stride.”
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Photo Editor