Sophomore Disorientation

By Carl Corcoran and Emma Kaplan

Two years ago, we wandered back onto Macalester’s campus unsure about our friends, our majors, our activities, and what we should do with our Thursday afternoons and our Saturday nights. Two years ago, we were no longer first years. We were sophomores. It’s no secret that the sophomore slump exists. Your RAs have warned you about it, as have your older friends and concerned siblings. The truth: it’s real. Many of you, though not all, will experience this feeling before you return to Macalester-or go off studying somewhere exotic-for your junior year. Your sophomore slump will be unique: you may feel like you can’t identify with those trusty friends you always went to five o’clock dinner with last year, you may realize that the major you had always believed you would pursue no longer holds appeal, and you may feel as if your contributions to campus life—via organizations, teams, groups, activities—are anonymous, or perhaps you may feel as if you’re not contributing at all. The scariest part? You may feel as if no one around you understands what you’re going through, as if you are the only one who feels this way. You’re not. Sophomores on college campuses across the United States are notoriously ignored by college administrations and by academic and extracurricular departments. Schools don’t consider the highly unique needs of their sophomores and don’t plan activities specifically for them. We’re here to change that. This coming January, we’re offering Macalester’s first annual sophomore retreat. From January 19-21 (right before second semester begins), 50-60 sophomores will have the opportunity to get off campus to Camp Friendship in Annandale, Minnesota for a chance to bond together and reflect individually. You’ll get to play in the Minnesota snow, enjoy TED-style talks from your favorite professors, and engage in discussion about those questions you’re constantly asking yourself. And of course, you’ll have tons of free time to get to know other sophomores, hang out, relax, and enjoy yourself away from the stresses and distractions of Macalester life. So, sophomores: check your email inboxes for all the information about signing up. We want you to come to this retreat. We wish this opportunity had existed for us when we were sophomores. And we guarantee that you will come out of this retreat with a better idea about what you want your Macalester experience to be like from here on out, and with an easier, more fun second semester.