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The Greek language origin for the term sophomore is sometimes described in its etymology breakdown as sophos, “wise”, and moros “foolish, dull.” The second year experience for your student is certainly a combination of leaning into the wisdom gained in their first year of existence and navigating the often-felt foolishness of things not yet known or new way of being in their second year. As you support your Zag student, you need to know that the second year of college, for some, may be considerably different. Here at Gonzaga we are intentional in our support and development of your student. We desire to assist them in their development focused on four core areas of development. The four areas are Finding Purpose, Developing Resilience, Cultivating Intercultural Competence and Promoting Well-Being and Healthy Living. We desire for your Zag to be prepared to “go forth and set the world on fire” –St. Ignatius of Loyola. In order to do that they need to grow in their awareness of self and others. We feel that these four areas of development and awareness help transform your student holistically. Below are some recommendations on how to engage your student and prepare them for some changes that may affect them as they grow in their second year. These areas of inquiry and support will help your student grow in wisdom and perhaps avoid some foolish missteps.

  • Talk to your student about their major as well as considering a selection of a minor.
    • Sophomore year is typically the year to declare a major. If your student hasn’t yet selected ask them questions to help them discern a course of action in selecting a major. If your student already declared a major ask them if they still align with that interest path. Also, help them consider how a minor might help bolster that knowledge base of their major or inform a future career.
  • Talk to your student about their career and vocation calling and future aspirations.
    • Is your students’ major choice in alignment with future career aspirations? Has your student talked to their academic advisor as well as the Career & Professional Development office?
  • Talk to your student about their deepening and intentional connections on campus.
    • Does your student still desire to engage with the same friend group, clubs and organizations they engaged with in their first year? If so, how can they deepen and be more intentional about those relationships? If not, what other opportunities and social engagements are they interested in?
  • Talk to your student about failure and managing recovery after difficult situations.
    • Sophomore year sees an increase in difficult circumstances whether it be social or academic. How can you support your student in recovering from failure and difficulties? Is your student aware of resources on campus to support them through failure and difficulty?
  • Talk to your student about how to recognize when they are not well and where to go for support whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.
    • We want our students to be well. Is your student aware of Health & Counseling Services, The Center for Cura Personalis, University Ministry, Housing & Residence Life? All of these offices have staff devoted to making sure your student thrives at Gonzaga.
  • Talk to your student about their worldview and value system.
    • How has college affected your student in their diverse perspective? Who have they met different from them? What subjects have expanded, informed or transformed their worldview? Is your student evaluating their value system and worldview with an appreciation for a Catholic, Jesuit and Humanistic approach?

We are so grateful for your support and engagement with your second year Zag. We hope that through this interaction you continue to help your Zag grow in wisdom and avoid being fooled by year two of existence at Gonzaga. Go Zags!

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