Before I arrived on campus as a freshmen, I had a pretty good idea of the type of students I’d encounter. The quintessential eagle would gallivant around campus cum laude, equally fabulous friends in tow. Each of them are headed to a club meeting in which they’re both the founder and president. I wanted that for myself – the 4.0, tons of friends, and a jam-packed resume by the end of my senior year. I thought that following in the footsteps of what I believed to be the prototypical BC student would help me achieve those goals.
At orientation, I was met with suffocating polo shirts who guided us toward the best-known organizations on campus – 4Boston, Appa, and CAB. At the enormous activities fair, we were hounded by eagles on a warpath to get the most signatures. I put my name down at all the popular club tables. I went to the information sessions. I submitted applications. I did all this before realizing that I had no real interest in joining most of these clubs. I felt relief as opposed to despair when I received one rejection email after another. It was then that I realized that this lack of interest meant I hadn’t found what I was truly passionate about yet.
It took me some time, but I finally learned the value of listening to myself, not your friends or anyone else on campus, especially when it comes to discerning your passions. Though I’m sure I would have enjoyed myself if I joined the groups that I thought everyone was “supposed” to join, not being a part of the “quintessential” or “typical” BC extra-curricular has given me the time and opportunity to reflect on what truly brings me joy.
Aside from clubs and activities, there is a pressure on campus to “go out” every weekend. If the Mod geotag does not appear on your Snapchat story every Friday night, are you doing college right? While going out and socializing can definitely be fun, some of the best weekend nights I’ve had so far have been spent with friends crammed into our rooms watching a movie or venturing into Boston to explore. Those nights have allowed me to define my own sense of joy.
The academic realm is not devoid of such pressure. I have met many people who feel that they have to be pre-med or in CSOM because “that’s just what BC kids do.” They opt for these professional routes over less popular subjects. College is the time to explore our intellectual and academic interests. But too often I hear people talk about settling on a major that they're not interested in because their friends are doing it or they don’t know what else they would want to do. It’s important to be proactive about your passions. Take advantage of the Core and all that BC classes have to offer. Your major or interests might not be the typical Biology, Economics, or Finance path that attract most.
There is a sort of “BC Bubble” under which many students find themselves trapped. Inside students feel the pressure to conform in the same way that I did at the beginning of the year – join the most popular organizations, study for the most popular major, and go out every weekend. Though that makes some perfectly happy, others should not be afraid to venture outside the BC bubble. You never know what you’ll find.