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A 48-Hour Experience

As a first year student at Boston College, it’s easy to get caught up in the adjustments to college life. Navigating the academic, spiritual, and social scene can become overwhelming for students, but the Office of First Year Experience is dedicated to making freshman year as seamless as possible. Their mission is to introduce students to the many resources that the university has to offer them and assist freshmen in their transition to life at BC. Their weekend long retreat, 48 Hours, does exactly this.

48 Hours allows students to gain a new perspective by taking a step back from the busyness of their everyday routines, expanding their social circles, and participating in open conversation about the highs and lows of college life. The retreat is open to all first year students looking to take advantage of BC’s many resources and is offered four times throughout the year.

The success of 48 Hours stems directly from the openness and enthusiasm of the leadership team. This team is made up of approximately ten senior Team Leaders, six sophomore Point Guards, and one First Year Experience staff member. Josh Mercado, a senior leader on this past 48 Hours weekend, gave The Gavel the inside scoop on what goes into 48 Hours behind the scenes.

Mercado, MCAS ’17, explained, “Together we met weekly in order to go over trip logistics, leadership training, and peer editing for leader talks, as well as just bonding in general so that we could provide a unified leadership team for the freshmen. In addition to these meetings, the senior leaders had frequent ‘talk’ meetings with the FYE leader and our talk partner, in order to write, edit, and prepare our talks for the weekend.”

The time and dedication that the leadership team puts into the weekend is what makes 48 Hours so popular among first year students. Team Leaders and Point Guards are there to facilitate open, honest conversation between freshmen and to keep morale high throughout the weekend. These students are passionate about the importance of 48 Hours and are extremely motivated to make the retreat a positive experience for every first year student. Sophomore Point Guard Alex Flores, MCAS ’19, said he “jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the retreat this year.”

In looking back on their own 48 Hours experiences as freshman, Flores and Mercado both had extremely fond memories. Flores said, “My 48 Hours experience was amazing. My group leader was open and honest with us from our first encounter, facilitating deep and genuine talk within our small group. From the Senior Leaders to the Point Guards, everyone expressed extreme vulnerability and understanding, which was refreshing to witness and made me feel more comfortable sharing my thoughts.”

Similarly, Mercado shared, “My favorite part of 48Hours as a freshman was listening to the senior leaders give their talks because of their vulnerability and variety. I never thought I could ever be brave enough to stand in a room of 100+ people and tell them about my personal triumphs and struggles. Funnily enough, my favorite part of 48Hours as a leader was listening to the stories of the freshmen. I was inspired over and over again watching so many retreatants come to the realization that they’re not alone and that everyone has their own struggles. Our own FYE leader, Ali Bane, put it best: In the face of suffering, there are no stronger two words than ‘me too.’”

When first year students return from 48 Hours, they have a new, broader perspective. Not only do they have new friends to say hi to on campus, but they also have a renewed sense of themselves and of what they want out of their four years at BC.

To attend 48 Hours, first year students can sign up for one of the three remaining weekends this year: December 2-4, February 10-12, and February 17-19.

Avid optimist who likes long walks on the beach with a Long Island bagel and iced coffee in hand. As my favorite man Drake once said, "I swear this life is like the sweetest thing I've ever known."