While the Sophomore Council is a new organization at the College, the conditions that make such a group an important resource for second- year students are far from novel. The sophomore experience is best characterized by a tremendous amount of personal and academic growth; however, the rapid pace of this growth makes it a year marked with uncertainty, and for some, dissatisfaction. The more tangible pressures of adjusting to life without the entry, choosing a major and balancing one’s schedule often eclipse the need to consider larger questions of personal fulfillment and making meaning out of the college experience.
The Williams Sophomore Council, founded in 2006 by a group of rising sophomores, was created to address sophomore issues and engender a sense of class unity through various social events, including Sophomore Week and a panel discussion about junior year options.
In spite of the organization’s numerous endeavors, we recognize in retrospect that the Council could have focused more on addressing the issues of stress, loneliness and insecurity that affected many members of the class. Our capacity to address these less visible difficulties of being a sophomore, however, was limited by the fact that we had yet to experience the so-called “Sophomore Slump” ourselves. When we did, we came to understand how the alliterative, pithy term failed to capture how truly intricate the sophomore condition is.
With our newfound (and firsthand) appreciation for the complexity of sophomore issues, we intend to help future Sophomore Councils fortify the group’s legitimacy as an organization by developing specific ways to align their programming with the needs of their classes. In time, the group will develop more effective strategies to identify and address the factors that lead to the “Sophomore Slump.”
Under the guidance of the sophomore class, Campus Life Coordinator Tim Leonard and with the enthusiasm and creativity of the newly selected council members, we have little doubt that the Sophomore Council will very quickly establish its role as a resource and voice for second year students.
Rashid A. Duroseau ’09, on behalf of the
Sophomore Council co-founders