Every year, a LAS freshman get paired with a sophomore to be their mentor (kind of how sororities pair new members with a big). Also every year is the Mentor/Mentee retreat that takes place at Eagle Village about an hour north of campus. This retreat is designed to give us all the opportunity to bond with out mentors, along with the rest of our LAS class.
From the moment I arrived at Powers Hall on the morning of September 10th, I knew I was in for a wild ride. My mentor, Nate, is, unlike myself, DEFINITELY a morning person. From the moment he arrived in the building, he was running around like a puppy and was super excited about the weekends coming events. I had planned on taking a nap on the bus, but I quickly found out that that would not be possible. Shortly into the ride, I realized that I was okay with that. Nate and I were able to chat and learn a little bit more about each other.
Once we arrived at Eagle Village, we were all split into groups of 7 mentee/mentor groups to do different leadership exercises with each other. One of the funnest ones that we did was a game where we had to transport a marble across the room using only wooden sticks (I’m sure this game has a name, but I am not sure what it is). It seemed simple at first, but we quickly discovered that it was trickier than first perceived. After a couple of minutes, we all began to become a little frustrated with each other; we were all strong leaders, so we naturally all wanted to be in charge. Everyone had an idea, and everyone wanted to be heard. It was a great learning experience for all of us, to be able to sit back and listen to what others had to say. It took us a while, but we eventually succeeded! I don’t think I have ever seen 14 people more excited about moving a marble across a room; everyone was jumping up and down, hugging the person next to them. Everyone was so excited, and it was all because we were able to come together as a group.
One of the biggest part of the mentor/mentee retreat is having the opportunity to bond with your mentor. I was able to do this the most during our free period; Nate and I were able to go on a canoeing trip on the river nearby. It was such a relaxing trip. We were able to just talk about life, and really connect with each other. Nate is such a down to earth person, and really cares about those around him. I was able to tell him about everything I was excited for in college, as well as some of my fears. He knew just what to say, and it was great to know that he had my back. As we got later into our canoeing, it got increasingly darker and darker, and then it started pouring rain. While the rest of the convoy was freaking out, I was excited to know that he loved the rain just as much as I did. By the time we got closer to short, it was pitch black and we were all trying to get in as quickly as possible. The water wasn’t super deep, so Nate (trying to be nice) though it would be a good idea to get out and just tow our canoe the rest of the way. However, in the exact spot where he decided to step, the water level dropped, and he sank into the water. He still had one hand on the canoe as he fell, so the canoe tipped and I went with it. I feel like most other people would have been mad about getting wet, but we both came to the surface laughing. We had gone the whole trip tip-free, and it was within sight of the shoreline that we took a tumble into the water. As bad as the trip had gotten, we always found the light in every situation, and I wouldn’t have wanted to take the trip with anyone else.
No onto the end of the night. Before this trip, I did not really know much of my cohort. I live in Larzelere Hall and everyone else lives in Barnes. I found it difficult to connect with my fellow cohort, and this retreat gave me the opportunity to get to know them (and for them to get to know me). That night was just one giant slumber party, where we all brought our mattresses into the common room and talked for a majority of the night. I almost didn’t join; I was still afraid to talk to people, but Nate convinced me that it would be a great idea. During the next couple of hours, I got to sit in a circle with about 15 people from my cohort and just chat. I really liked everyone that I talked to, and I was surprised that everyone wanted to get to know me as well.
Overall, the mentor/mentee retreat was a fantastic weekend. I was able to bond with both my cohort and my mentor, along with the class above me. We were able to learn about each other and our leadership styles. It gave each and everyone the ability to grow as a cohort and how to connect with other leaders like us. I am so excited for retreat next year!