Search the Bulletin

A Positive Path for Sophomores

By Carol Brévart-Demm

“Fall in love!” was President Rebecca Chopp’s vehement exhortation to members of the Class of 2012 at the inaugural Sophomore Collection in October.

Chopp wasn’t talking about a cute classmate but rather an intellectual vision that would drive the sophomores to discover where their academic passions lie. She encouraged them to explore the passions of other members of the campus community as they seek their own.

Chopp’s talk was one of several events in a new initiative headed by Associate Dean for Student Life Myrt Westphal to help sophomores steer a positive path through their second year—a period sometimes noted for the legendary “sophomore slump,” when the excitement of the freshman year has worn off.

Inspired by a conference she attended, Westphal thinks that a series of fun yet useful activities designed to invoke a feeling of camaraderie will help sophomores maintain a high level of enthusiasm as they navigate their second year on campus.

In addition to Sophomore Collection, last fall’s activities included Career Services and Off-Campus Study open houses, a lecture on “Financial IQ,” and special sophomore study breaks—with more to come in the spring semester.

Assisted by Acting Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Diane Anderson, Westphal included faculty members in her campaign to ensure that sophomores receive needed support as they choose a major or plan for study abroad in the junior year.

Although Westphal says it’s difficult to measure both the extent to which Swarthmore students experience a “slump” and the degree to which the events have been successful, she told a Daily Gazette reporter: “I’m glad that I made the effort. As long as I touched a couple dozen sophomores, that’s good enough for me.

Comments are closed.