Column: Have an open mind for retreats

ALLICIYIA GEORGE

I am an adventurous and open-minded person, and I think to get anything out of Freshman Retreat, you have to possess those characteristics.

I remember the phrase “Freshman Retreat” going back to Wolfpack Welcome. I sat listening to the upperclassmen give us advice, and they suggested we go on the retreat. At the time, I filed the thought of attending retreat away for further research, taking in the suggestion, but not letting it make my mind up for me.

As time went by, I saw the flyer in the Danna Center. It made me think of summer camp. I was expecting it to be us freshman bonding over s’mores, arts and crafts and doing some sort of trust exercises.

In actuality, my spiritual journey during retreat began because I was open to the religious aspects of Freshman Retreat and of the Jesuit mission: to find God in all things.

The theme of the retreat was “Share Your Story.” We were given “prayer partners,” other retreaters we were to pray for over the trip. We also got into groups to discuss the importance of being “me,” relationships with God and our community.

You do not have to subscibe to any religion in order to get something out of Freshman Retreat. As long as you have an open mind, you will gain friendship and a new perspective.

Each of us made a gift for our prayer partner on the last day. It made us all try to get to know someone, make them feel special and bond over mutual qualities that we might not have noticed otherwise.

Upperclassmen leaders and retreaters were much closer by the end of the weekend, reiterating the idea that we are a community here at Loyola. For me, retreat was a chance to get away from school. It was an adventure and a way to meet new people.

Retreat was much more than board games and kickball. The retreat had a much deeper meaning than what I was expecting. Unlike summer camp, the retreat allowed for more spiritual growth through interacting with nature. New bonds have a greater potential to last for a long time afterward; it’s like camp is not over and we have the rest of the year to hang out.

Alliciyia George can be reached at [email protected]